Weightlifter goes missing from Olympic camp in Tokyo after ‘leaving note behind’

An Olympic weightlifter has gone missing from his country's training camp after failing to qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Games.

Julius Ssekitoleko, 20, was part of Uganda's Olympic squad training in Osaka, Japan, hoping to reach the spectacle later this summer.

However, the youngster failed to qualify for the Games and was due to fly home to Uganda on Tuesday.

Despite this, Ssekitoleko reportedly went missing from his hotel room – leaving a note saying he wants to stay and work in Japan, rather than returning to his native country.

The athlete also wanted to his wife to get his belongings when they return home.

A train station in Osaka confirmed the athlete had bought a ticket to Nagoya, which is 50 minutes away.

And the Ugandan Olympic committee have broken their silence, explaining they are hunting for Ssekitoleko.

"It was anticipated that he would qualify for the Games. However he did not make the quota as informed by the International Weightlifting Federation on 5 July 2021," their statement read.

"He, together with his coach, were due to return to Uganda on 20 July 2021.

"We, during our regular team briefings both in Uganda and in Japan, emphasised the need to respect the immigration regulations of Japan and not opt to leave the camp without authorisation.

"Our team in Izumisano is cooperating with the Osaka authorities to try and locate Mr Sekitoleko.We shall keep you posted on any further developments in this regard."

Ugandan Weightlifting Federation president Salim Musoke slammed Ssekitoleko after his disappearance, vowing to ban him from the sport once he is found.

Musoke told the New York Times: "When I got the message, I wondered what happened [or] if they were well guarded.

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"What happened to the security they have been talking about?

"Athletes disappearing is not good for the country. I am praying that they get this boy. The government of Japan should get this boy. And then we expel him from the sport."

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