Julius Ssekitoleko a Ugandan weightlifter who 4 days ago went missing from the pre-Olympic training camp was finally found in central Japan.
Latest reports indicate that Julius Ssekitoleko was found in Yokaichi, a city located in Mie Prefecture, Japan and this comes at a time when Ugandan government had instructed the State Minister for Sports Hamson Obua to travel to Japan to hunt for him.
As the Olympic games are set to kick off on Friday, Ssekitoleko went missing from the team’s training camp in Izumisano city located in Osaka.
In a statement she issued moments after the 20-year-old weightlifter was found, the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) secretary general Beatrice Ayikoru confirmed that “He has been located and is with the (unspecified) authorities in the office in Izumisano,”
Ayiroku added that they were working together with the Ugandan Embassy in Japan located in Tokyo to ensure that he flies safely back to Uganda.
The embassy confirmed that it was trying to arrange so that Ssekitoleko flies back 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 added in a statement
Meanwhile, after the athlete went missing, the Ugandan State minister for foreign affairs Okello Oryema said a press conference that Government had directed minister Hamson Obua to quickly travel to Japan and look for him
He also said that if found, Ssekitoleko will be punished before warning the other athletes to be disciplined and return to the country after the games.
Japanese ambassador to Uganda Mr. Fukuzawa Hidemoto said that Japanese Police had been directed to hunt for Ssekitoleko and were doing their best to trace for his whereabouts.
“It’s a criminal offence to disappear in a country without the right Visa. He went using a travel Visa and travelers are not supposed to stay and work in Japan,” Mr Fukuzawa said
According to CNN, on deciding to escape from the camp, Julius left a note saying his life in Uganda was too difficult and he wanted to stay and work from Japan.
In the note, Ssekitoleko said he did not want to return to Uganda and asked the members of his delegation to send his belongings back to his wife
He failed to qualify for the Games after his arrival in Japan, and was due to fly back to Uganda on Tuesday the 20th of July.
He was last seen at a local station near his delegation’s hotel in Izumisano at 6:30 a.m. on Friday.
The athlete purchased a Shinkansen bullet train ticket to Nagoya, about 200 kilometers away, an Izumisano official told CNN.