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Ugandan weightlifter who fled pre-Olympic training found in central Japan

A Ugandan athlete who fled during pre-Olympic training in western Japan last week has been found and is being questioned by police, officials said on Tuesday.

Police in Mie Prefecture in central Japan say 20-year-old weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko is in Yokkaichi, a town 105 miles east of his host city in the west. from Japan. Police ask him what has happened since he fled his hotel in Izumisano in Osaka Prefecture on Friday, leaving behind a note saying he did not want to return to his country.

Julius Ssekitoleko of Uganda competes in the men’s 56kg weightlifting final on day one of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images File

Ssekitoleko left his luggage and a note saying he wanted to stay in Japan and work, Izumisano officials said. He failed to meet Olympic standards in the latest international rankings released after arriving in Japan and was due to return home this week.

The pandemic-delayed Olympics open on Friday despite growing concerns over an upsurge in infections in Tokyo, which reported 1,387 cases on Tuesday, up 557 from a week ago.

Upon arrival at Narita International Airport on June 19, one member of the team tested positive and was quarantined, while the remaining eight members were allowed to travel more than 300 miles on a chartered bus. until Izumisano.

Days later, a second member of the team tested positive, forcing seven city officials and drivers who had close contact with the team to self-isolate. Health officials said the two infected Ugandans had the delta variant, which is believed to be more contagious.

The team, which ended their isolation and trained from July 7, traveled to the Tokyo Olympic Village on Tuesday without Ssekitoleko.



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