Missing Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko who fled Tokyo 2020 training camp found by police

A UGANDAN weightlifter who fled his Tokyo 2020 training camp has been caught by police.

Julius Ssekitoleko, 20, absconded after learning that he had failed to qualify for the Olympics, despite travelling to Japan for the Games.

Originally due to fly home on Tuesday, he went missing on Friday and had reportedly taken a bullet train from Osaka to Nagoya.

It is also said that the weightlifter had left a note, outlining his desire to stay and work in Japan.

But it has been confirmed that Ssekitoleko was discovered at the home of an acquaintance in Yokkaichi City, 100 miles east of Osaka.

The Ugandan was carrying his identification upon his discovery but not his passport, which had been held by his team.

The Ugandan Olympic Committee general secretary general, Beatrice Ayikoru, said: "[Ssekitoleko] has been located and is with the authorities in the office in Izumisano.

"We are working together with our embassy in Tokyo to ensure that he flies safely to Uganda."


A statement from the Ugandan Embassy in Tokyo added: "Any issues to do with alleged absconding from the duty he had been flown to perform in Japan and related disappearance from the training camp, will be handled appropriately on his return to Uganda."

Osaka prefecture official Naoki Fukuyama confirmed that the authorities tracked Ssekitoleko on CCTV before his discovery.

The athlete had met a friend in the city of Gifu, north of Nagoya, who alerted police of his journey to Yokkaichi.

Mr Fukuyama, quoted by New York Times, said: "He may be a hero in his country, but he felt it was difficult to return to the country as he learned he can’t compete in the Games.

"He must have hoped to win and bring the gold medal back to his country.

"I feel sorry for him. I felt relieved he was found and want to hand him over as soon as possible as many citizens are worrying.

"He is not a criminal. Even though he has violated the Olympic rules, he has no problem doing anything as his visa is valid."

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