Athlete spotted on CCTV in Japan days after going missing from Olympic camp

An Olympic weightlifter has been pictured on CCTV for the first time since going missing from his training camp in Japan last week.

Julius Ssekitoleko, from Uganda, fled from his hotel room on Tuesday, leaving a note explaining his desire to stay in Tokyo to work – rather than returning to Africa.

The 20-year-old has been unaccounted for in recent days but has now been spotted on a surveillance camera at JR Nagoya Station – about 200 kilometers from where he was staying, a police source said Monday.

Ssekitoleko purchased a Shinkansen bullet train ticket to Nagoya after telling his team to give his belongings to his wife back home.

The youngster was part of Uganda's Olympic squad training in Osaka, Japan, hoping to reach the spectacle later this summer but failed to qualify for the Games and was due to fly home on Tuesday.

Despite this, Ssekitoleko went missing from his hotel room and appears to be aiming for a fresh start in Asia.

But this is not the first time athletes from around the globe have tried their luck at this sort of thing.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, where Ssekitoleko finished 10th, hundreds of athletes tried to claimasylum once the event was over, but their applications were rejected.

Two rugby players from Uganda also went missing after competing in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland and managed to gain asylum.

  • Weightlifter goes missing from Olympic camp in Tokyo after 'leaving note behind'

The Ugandan Olympic committee broke their silence on the recent disappearance last week.

"It was anticipated that he would qualify for the Games. However he did not make the quota as informed by the International Weightlifting Federation on 5 July 2021," their statement read.

"He, together with his coach, were due to return to Uganda on 20 July 2021.

"We, during our regular team briefings both in Uganda and in Japan, emphasised the need to respect the immigration regulations of Japan and not opt to leave the camp without authorisation.

"Our team in Izumisano is cooperating with the Osaka authorities to try and locate Mr Sekitoleko.We shall keep you posted on any further developments in this regard."

Ugandan Weightlifting Federation president Salim Musoke slammed Ssekitoleko after his disappearance, vowing to ban him from the sport once he is found.

Musoke told the New York Times: "When I got the message, I wondered what happened [or] if they were well guarded.

"What happened to the security they have been talking about?

"Athletes disappearing is not good for the country. I am praying that they get this boy. The government of Japan should get this boy. And then we expel him from the sport."

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