Olympian who fled and did not want to return to his own country, found in Japan
A Ugandan athlete who went missing on Friday was found by Japanese police on Tuesday, officials said.
Julius Ssekitoleko, 20, left his hotel in Izumisano on Friday after failing to show up for his coronavirus test, The New York Times first reported. He left a note stating that he did not want to return to Uganda due to the difficult lifestyle and requested that his things be shipped to his wife.
According to the Associated Press, police found Ssekitoleko in Yokkaichi, a town 105 miles east of Izumisano, and remain in custody as authorities continue questioning.
Ugandan Olympic Committee secretary general Beatrice Ayikoru has confirmed that Ssekitoleko has been found but has not disclosed the situation further, according to the BBC.
“He has been located and is with the authorities (unspecified) in Izumisano’s office,” Ayikoru said. “We are working with our embassy in Tokyo to make sure it flies safely to Uganda.”
The Ugandan embassy in Tokyo confirmed they were attempting to transport Ssekitoleko to Uganda as early as Wednesday, according to the BBC.
“Any issue related to an alleged escape from duty he was made to perform in Japan and the related disappearance from the training camp will be dealt with appropriately upon his return to Uganda,” the embassy said.
Ssekitoleko bought a train ticket to Nagoya, about 200 kilometers from Izumisano, and was found at JR Nagoya Station, according to Kyodo News.
He was traveling with a cell phone but without his passport, which was held by the Ugandan Olympic team, Kyodo News reported.
Ssekitoleko was told he had not reached the quota for the Olympics on July 5 and was due to return home to Uganda with his coach on July 20, according to the BBC.
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