Ugandan Weightlifter Reported Missing Amidst Strict Protocols for Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 07/16/2021, 7:45 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


While Japan welcomes athletes from over the world for Tokyo Olympics 2020, they recently declared a new stage of emergency due to the COVID crisis. However, despite their restrictions, a Ugandan weightlifter is reported missing just days before the inauguration of the Games.

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Julius Ssekitoleko, who arrived in Japan last month with the rest of the Ugandan delegation, is the man in question.

Ssekitoleko went missing just before a scheduled COVID-19 test ahead of Tokyo Olympics 2020

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Last month, a nine-member delegation including Ssekitoleko arrived in the city of Izumisano. The city is around 500kms away from Tokyo, the host city of the upcoming Games. However, two members of the delegation tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan.

While one of them was confirmed at the airport itself, the second positive test came after they arrived at their training camp. Although the entire team went through quarantine, they could train once the quarantine period got over.

Ahead of a mandatory COVID test for the young weightlifter, the test official failed to find him. In addition, his teammates confirmed his absence while reporting the issue to the local police.

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

A statement issued by the city of Izumisano read“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.”

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Ssekitoleko missed out on the Men’s 67kg competition at the Games

Despite winning two medals at the African Weightlifting Championships, the 20-year-old was on a waiting list to confirm his participation. However, he received information on missing the cut. According to Uganda Olympic C0mmittee General Secretary Beatrice Ayikoru, Ssekitoleko was to fly back home on July 20.

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While organisers continue to assure strict protocols in Tokyo, this incident might instill concerns. Although fans cannot enter stadiums at the Games, the threat of COVID-19 still looms in Japan. And with Ssekitoleko missing, one can only wonder the risks attached with it.

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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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