Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko, who vanished during pre-Olympics training last week in western Japan, was found safe and was being interviewed by police, officials said Tuesday.
Ssekitoleko, 20, fled his hotel in Izumisano in the Osaka prefecture Friday, leaving behind a note saying he did not want to return to his country. He was found in Yokkaichi city, about 105 miles east of his host town.
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Ssekitoleko’s note said he wanted to stay in Japan and work, Izumisano officials said. He did not meet Olympic standards in the latest international rankings released after he arrived in Japan and was set to return to Uganda this week.
“He has been located and is with the (unspecified) authorities in the office in Izumisano,” Uganda Olympic Committee secretary general Beatrice Ayikoru said in a video, via BBC Sport. “We are working together with our embassy in Tokyo to ensure that he flies safely to Uganda.”
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The Uganda Embassy in Tokyo said it was trying to arrange for Ssekitoleko to return to Uganda as early as Wednesday.
“Any issues to do with alleged absconding from the duty he had been flown to perform in Japan and related disappearance from the training camp, will be handled appropriately on his return to Uganda,” the embassy said.
The Ugandan national team arrived in Japan on June 19. A member of the team tested positive and was quarantined while eight other members were allowed to travel about 300 miles from Narita International Airport to Izumisano.
Days later, a second Ugandan athlete tested positive.
Health officials said both athletes had the delta variant of the coronavirus.
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The team traveled to the Olympic Village in Tokyo on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.