The government of Uganda has announced that the Minister of State for Sports Hon. Hamson Obua will travel to Japan to “co-ordinate” the search for missing Ugandan athlete Julius Ssekitoleko.
Mr. Ssekitoleko travelled with the Ugandan team to participate in the Olympic Games but was reported missing from the training camp a few days ago.
According to our sources in the Ugandan camp in Japan, the weight lifter left behind a note apologizing for absconding from the team and explained that he wished to live and work in Japan.
His country of choice, Japan and that of his origin, Uganda have however concerted efforts to track him down and smoke him out of his hideout.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Okello Oryem condemned Ssekitoleko’s decision to illegally try to relocate to Japan. Oryem said that both the Japan and Uganda governments are working closely to ensure that the athlete is returned home.
Minister Oryem made these remarks while addressing the press shortly after his closed door meeting with HE Fukuzawa Hidemoto, the ambassador of Japan to Uganda.
“The Minister of State for Education in charge of Sports Hamson Obua will be travelling to Japan to coordinate investigations in the search, we are working closely with the government of Japan,” Minister Oryem said.
According to a statement from the host city Izumisano, authorities became concerned when Ssekitoleko failed to show up for a coronavirus test and was not in his hotel room.
Ugandan sports officials said on Friday that the athlete had recently found out he would not be able to compete at the Games because of a quota system.
Amb. Hidemoto acknowledged the regrets expressed by the Minister on behalf of government of Uganda on the missing athlete and appreciated the efforts so far in addressing this matter.
Hidemoto assured the Ugandan government that the matter would be handled to its logical conclusion.
Minister Oryem re-affirmed the commitment of Uganda’s athletes to adhere to the requirements put in place by the Japanese Government to successfully host the Olympics Games despite the disruptions presented by the COVID – 19 pandemic.