To Hell With Ugandan Poverty: Olympics Missing Ugandan Weightlifter Seeks Asylum In Japan

To Hell With Ugandan Poverty: Olympics Missing Ugandan Weightlifter Seeks Asylum In Japan

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By Spy Uganda 

An Ugandan weightlifter who went missing from an Olympic training camp on Friday left said he wanted to stay in Japan, media reports said, adding to confusion ahead of the Games which begin next week.

Julius Ssekitoleko was discovered missing from the Ugandan team’s training site in Izumisano, a city in Osaka, western Japan.

Media reports said he left behind a note saying he wanted to stay and work in Japan, as life in Uganda was difficult.

Ssekitoleko had not qualified to take part in the Tokyo Games, and was due to return to Uganda next Tuesday.

A nearby train station recorded him purchasing a bullet train ticket to Nagoya in central Japan, the reports said.

This is not the first time that Uganda have come to the attention of authorities in Japan since arriving at Narita Airport in Tokyo on 19 June.

One member of the team tested positive on arrival and was quarantined there, while the remainder of the team were allowed to continue on a journey of more than 300 miles to Izumisano by chartered bus.

However, a second member of the team tested positive days later, meaning that seven local officials and drivers were required to self-isolate due to being identified as close contacts.

Team training was eventually allowed to continue on 7 July after both athletes had completed their required periods of quarantine.

The earlier case prompted the Japanese authorities to step up border controls and change isolation policy to require entire groups to quarantine in airport areas when any member tests positive.

Teams preparing for the Games are required to use health and location apps, while activity is restricted to “bubbles” in order to isolate athletes and delegates from the wider Japanese public.

However, Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa insisted on Friday that she is asking organisers to strengthen measures and increase surveillance staff at hotels to ensure that the strict rules are followed.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, postponed for a year due to the global pandemic, is being held under tight quarantine rules, restricting participants’ movements to prevent the spread of infections.

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