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Ugandan Olympics Athlete Goes Missing in Japan

One member of Uganda’s first batch of athletes in Japan has gone missing from his hotel at a training camp, the Japanese town hosting the delegation said on Friday and the officials have embarked on a manhunt for him.

In a statement, Izumisano City said 20-year-old weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko failed to appear by noon for his daily virus test and was not in his hotel room.

The City of Izumisano statement says: “One member of the Ugandan delegation, which the city received as a host town, has gone missing and cannot be reached. The city is making all efforts to search for the individual. We have reported the matter to police.”

However according to reports Ssekitoleko had already missed a slot to the final games since Uganda had no quota in weightlifting. Ssekitoleko was part pending list after winning 67kg bronze after lifting 100kg in clean and 130kg in clean and jerk for a total 230kg during the Africa Weightlifting Championships at Ruaraka Sports Club Nairobi in May. He however missed out on the final list of qualification. 

Consequently, the Uganda Olympic Committee later received communication that he had missed and he was expected to return home this month. Sekitoleeko went with his coach Hakim Sempereza  

Ssekitoleko was part of the first contingent that left Uganda last month to Izumisano City where they had to have a pre-Olympic training camp before going to the Olympic Village in Tokyo.

However on arrival in Japan, two members of the team tested positive for the coronavirus since arriving at Narita airport outside Tokyo on June 19. Consequently, the organizers decided to quarantine the entire team even when other members returned negative results. The team only started training in the western Japan city last week after it had refrained from doing so.   

The first batch of Uganda’s athletes is expected to leave Izumisano and go to the Tokyo Olympic Village on 20th July 2021 to have the final touches ahead of the summer games. 

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