Tokyo — A man who made his mark as a Ugandan weightlifter Went missing Police found him in a town about 100 miles away after leaving his hotel room at a training camp in Japan’s Osaka prefecture last week. A statement from the Ugandan government said the man was a missing athlete.
The man, identified as 20-year-old Julius Sekitoleko, the weightlifter who had not made it to his country’s Olympic squad and was originally scheduled to fly to Uganda on Tuesday, at an acquaintance’s home in the town of Yokaichi in Mie Prefecture was found. identification.
Mr Sekitoleko was found missing from his hotel room on Friday after he failed to appear for a daily coronavirus test in Izumisano. He left a note saying he wanted to work in Japan. Since then the police is looking for him.
Naoki Fukuyama, an officer with the Osaka Prefectural Police Department, said police were consulting the Ugandan embassy on where to take him. The other eight teammates who were training at Izumisano moved to the Olympic Village on Monday.
In a statement posted on TwitterThe Ugandan embassy in Tokyo said it was working with Japanese authorities to ensure Mr Sekitoleko’s return to Uganda on Wednesday was “safe and secure”.
“Any issues relating to the alleged absconding from duty and missing from the training camp will be handled appropriately upon return to Uganda,” the statement said.
in Kampala, Okello Orim, a junior minister in the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called Mr Sekitoleko a “traitor”.
“This behavior and act is treacherous,” Mr. Orim told reporters after meeting with the Japanese ambassador in Kampala.
According to Mr. Fukuyama, police had tracked Mr. Sekitoleko on a surveillance camera while taking the bullet train from Osaka to Nagoya, where he met another man and traveled to Gifu in central Japan.
Police officers went to the man’s house, where he told them that Mr Sekitoleko had moved to another house in Yokaichi, where police found him on Tuesday afternoon.
“He may be a hero in his country, but he felt it was difficult to return to the country because he learned he could not compete in the Games,” said Mr. Fukuyama. “He should have hoped to win and bring back the gold medal to his country. I feel sorry for that. I am relieved that it has been found and want to hand it over as soon as possible as many citizens are worried. “
Last month, a coach and an athlete with the Ugandan Olympic delegation tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Japan. It was not clear whether Mr. Sekitoleko was one of them.
“He’s not a criminal,” said Mr. Fukuyama. “Even if he violated Olympic rules, he has no problem doing anything because his visa is valid.”
Musinguzi Blanche contributed reporting from Kampala, Uganda.