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  • Tiffany Rigby

Ugandan Weightlifter missing in Tokyo

Ugandan Weightlifter still missing in Tokyo. Officials realized Julius Ssekitoleko went missing on Friday, when he did not show up for a scheduled Covid-19 test. The 20-year-old weightlifting hopeful failed to qualify for the Games after his arrival in Japan, and was due to fly back to Uganda on July 20.

His hotel room is said to have been reported empty and authorities alerted. A search for the missing athlete is currently underway by police and local officials. Ssekitoleko is scheduled to fly back home next week since he did not qualify. "All we want is that he's found as soon as possible," Yuji Fukuoka, a city spokesman, told The New York Times. "He might be having a tough time."

Officials have since said the weightlifter has left a note in his empty hotel room in Izumisano stating that his life in Uganda was too hard and he wanted to stay in Japan to work. The athlete was last spotted at a local train station near the hotel room.

This is not the first time Ugandan citizens have gone missing after going to other countries to compete. Two Ugandan athletes previously went missing during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia and in the Commonwealth Games hosted in Scotland 2014, Ugandan Ruby players went missing and later turned out seeking asylum.

Local police have been looking for Ssekitoleko without any success but they know he bought a one way ticket to Nagoya and is still in the country of Japan.

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