The Ugandan weightlifter missing since Friday from a training camp in Japan has been found “safe and sound, “ Japanese police said on Tuesday. Julius Ssekitoleko was missing after failing to show up for a Covid-19 test.
“On Tuesday, the man was found in Mie prefecture (center) without any injuries and without any criminal involvement,” an Osaka police revealed. This 20-year-old athlete had disappeared from the Izumisano hotel, near Osaka (west) where he was staying with his group, the authorities of this municipality which hosts their base camp had announced.
Julius Ssekitoleko, who recently won the bronze medal at the African Weightlifting Championships, was on a waiting list for the Olympics but has recently lost all hope of participating due to Olympic quotas. He was due to return to his country soon.
He was among the first group of nine Ugandan athletes, coaches and executives who arrived in Japan in mid-June, and two non-athletic members had tested positive for coronavirus soon after. The whole group had to do quarantine in stride.
Police said on Tuesday that the man had travelled to Nagoya and then to Gifu prefecture, before heading south to Mie. “He was found in a house belonging to people in connection with him,” said the police chief, adding that the sportsman had not put up any resistance. “We continue to question him about his motivations. “
The drastic restrictions were scheduled in Japan for all participants in the Tokyo Olympics (July 23-August 8), while the health crisis is worsening in the country. In particular, athletes must be tested daily and their movements are extremely restricted, limited between their accommodation, their training centers and their competition venues.
Almost all the Olympic events will also take place behind closed doors, the organizers decided last week.