Missing Ugandan Weightlifter Runs Away From Olympics Because Life In Uganda Is “Particularly Difficult”

Julius Ssekitoleko, a Ugandan weightlifter among the country’s team for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 has gone missing in search of a better life as he describes his home country, Uganda, as “particularly difficult”.

An alarm was raised by the officials of the town of Izumisano over the whereabouts of Julius Ssekitoleko after he failed to show up for his daily COVID-19 test, which is a requirement of taking part in this summer’s Olympic Games.

Officials searched his room and found a note he left behind where he mentioned that he had no intentions of leaving Japan because Uganda is “particularly difficult”. When members of the Ugandan delegation reached out to him on phone, Ssekitoleko asked them to hand over his belongings to his wife in their home country.

Julius Ssekitoleko PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram/Julius Ssekitoleko

A search for the 20-year-old athlete has been launched. Katsunobu Kato, the chief cabinet secretary to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said the police are conducting a search. Mr. Kato said the police and city officials were making an “all-out effort” to find Mr. Ssekitoleko.

The incident occurs a week after the opening of the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital and has raised concerns about the anti-COVID measures implemented for the event amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, with the first case being confirmed this Saturday within the Olympic Village.

The athlete left the hotel he was in without warning and bought a train ticket to Nagoya, some 200 kilometres away, early on Friday, according to new details of the investigation published this Saturday by the Japanese Kyodo news agency.

According to Salim Musoke, the president of the Uganda Weightlifting Federation, Mr. Ssekitoleko did not qualify to compete in the Olympics and was scheduled to fly back to Uganda on July 20 before the official opening of the Games.

Featured Image: Julius Ssekitoleko, who went missing in Japan, is seen here competing in Australia in 2018. Credit…Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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