Mr. Julius Ssekitoleko, a Ugandan weightlifter who went missing on Friday 16th July 2021 from the Olympic village facilities in Izumisano City, Japan, has returned to Uganda safely.
Mr. Ssekitoleko fled from camp during pre-Olympics training in western Japan last week and was found a week later by police. Mie prefectural police in central Japan said the 20-year-old weightlifter was in Yokkaichi, 105 miles east of his host town in western Japan.
News of the weightlifter was met with mixed emotions from Ugandans with a bevy wishing him good tidings, citing that sportspersons do not have much success in Uganda and can always pave the way for themselves outside the borders of Uganda. The news came less than a month after Betway Kobs utility back James Odongo went AWOL from a hotel room in which the Uganda Rugby Sevens team were isolating in Monaco.
It is said that Mr. Ssekitoleko fled from camp in Japan after failing to meet international competition standards. He fled, leaving a note saying he did not want to return to his country.
His action unfortunately violated the Code of Conduct which each member of the Team pledged to abide by. This was signed by the Uganda Olympic Council (UOC), Tokyo 2020 and National Council of Sports. Sections (13) and (15) under part 2 are particularly illustrative of what was expected. Not only had he committed to returning to Uganda but he had also pledged to honour the Country, his Team, and the Olympic GamesMinsitry Of Foreign Affairs Statement
“The Government of Uganda is committed to continuous rehabilitation of the Athlete to assist him to settle to develop his career further but also help him understand, how such acts of misconduct can not only affect him as an athlete but also other athletes in the Sports sector and the Nation at large.”