The Ugandan weightlifter missing since Friday from a training camp in Japan has been found “safe and sound”, announced Tuesday the Japanese police.
Julius Ssekitoleko had disappeared after failing to report for a Covid-19 test.
“Today (Tuesday), the man was found in Mie (central) prefecture without any injuries and without any criminal involvement,” said an Osaka police official.
The 20-year-old athlete had disappeared from the hotel in Izumisano, near Osaka (west) where he was staying with his group, announced the authorities of this municipality that hosts their base camp.
The Ugandan weightlifter “had on him his identity card and identified himself. We do not know to whom we should refer the man, to the team or to the embassy”, added this police officer.
Julius Ssekitoleko, who recently won the bronze medal at the African Weightlifting Championships, was on a waiting list for the Olympics but recently lost all hope of participating due to Olympic quotas. He was expected to return to his country soon.
He was part of the first group of nine Ugandan athletes, coaches and managers who arrived in Japan in mid-June, and two of whose non-athletic members tested positive for the coronavirus shortly afterwards. The whole group had to undergo quarantine in the aftermath.
Police said Tuesday that the man had traveled to Nagoya and then to Gifu Prefecture, before heading south to Mie.
“He was found in a house belonging to people connected to him,” the police official said, adding that the sportsman had offered “no resistance. We are still questioning him about his motives.” Ugandan authorities have been notified of his arrest, said Ugandan Foreign Minister Henry Okello.
“The Ugandan government has already apologized to Japan. This is unacceptable conduct and treason,” he added.