REPORTS: Missing Weightlifter at Tokyo Olympics 2020 Found By Cops After 4 Days

Published 07/20/2021, 6:45 AM EDT
Members of Uganda’s Olympic team pose for a photograph upon their arrival at their pre-Olympics camp host town Izumisano, after a member of their team has tested positive fo the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and was barred entry into Japan, in Izumisano, Osaka prefecture, wetsern Japan June 20, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN


Last week, Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko raised concerns when he went missing from the delegation’s base in Izumisano. However, three days ahead of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics 2020, police sources confirmed they found the 20-year-old.

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Ssekitoleko travelled to the city of Nagoya before authorities found him in the Mie prefecture.

Julius Ssekitoleko located in central Japan three days before Tokyo Olympics 2020 begins

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While the Ugandan team arrived in Japan last month, the city of Izumisano served as their base. Located 500kms from Tokyo, a nine-member delegation from Uganda took to this city in western Japan as their base. During their month-long presence, two members tested positive for COVID-19.

A few days before the Games, Ssekitoleko was on a waiting list for confirming his participation in the men’s 67kg category. Despite his accomplishments at the African Weightlifting Championships, he missed the cut and was scheduled to head back to Uganda today.

However, prior to a mandatory COVID-19 test, Ssekitoleko disappeared from his hotel room. With the health and his teammates unable locate him, they informed the police of his absence.

A few days ago, a surveillance camera at JR Nagoya station, over 200kms away from Izumisano, caught the 20-year old. Although he had a mobile phone with him, his passport remained with the Ugandan team itself.

After a long hunt, police finally found Ssekitoleko in Mie prefecture, located another 200kms away from Nagoya.

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Ssekitoleko left a note stating he wanted to live in Japan

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Before the 20-year-old went missing, he left a note stating he wished to stay back in Japan. The weightlifter admitted this due to the difficulties of living in his home country of Uganda.

Members of Uganda’s Olympic team arrive at Narita international airport while a member of their team has tested positive fo the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and was barred entry into Japan, in Narita, east of Tokyo, Japan June 19, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. REFILE – CORRECTING DATE

In addition, Ssekitoleko also wrote to his delegation to return all his belongings to his wife in Uganda. Although the news breathes a sigh of relief amidst the COVID crisis in Japan, the due course of action remains to be seen.

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Sanket Nair

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Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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