A Ugandan Olympic athlete was reported missing from his hotel on Friday, according to government officials, The New York Times reported.
Ssekitoleko, along with nine other Ugandans, were staying at a hotel in Izumisano, western Japan, which is near the athletic training camp, the NYT reported. (RELATED: Sha’Carri Richardson Not Going To Tokyo Olympics After Being Left Off Relay Team)
A Ugandan Olympics athlete in Japan has gone missing, and the team’s host city is conducting a search with police, Japan’s top government spokesman said on Friday. NHK say it’s a weightlifter, and that an official at the host city noticed he was missing during a PCR test.
— Mari Saito (@saitomri) July 16, 2021
He reportedly left a note at the hotel saying, “I want to work in Japan,” local officials said on Friday, according to city officials, Japanese outlet Kyodo News reported.
Ssekitoleko did not want to return to Uganda because of the difficult lifestyle and asked the Uganda delegation to return his belongings to his wife, the note reportedly said, according to Kyodo News.
The police are searching for Ssekitoleko and making an “all-out effort” to find the athlete, Katsunobu Kato, the chief cabinet secretary to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a press conference.
Ssekitoleko did not qualify for the Olympics and had a flight home to Uganda on June 20, Salim Musoke, president of the Uganda Weightlifting Federation said, the NYT reported.
Musoke last spoke to Ssekitoleko on Tuesday, and was surprised to hear he disappeared because the athletes, coaches and officials surrendered their passports and the hotel was “well guarded,” Musoke said, the NYT reported.
Musoke hopes that officials find Ssekitoleko and that the “government of Japan should get this boy, and then we expel him from the sport,” Musoke said, according to the NYT.
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