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Olympics: Missing weightlifter safely returns home from Japan

by Editorial Team
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By Kampala Sun writer

 Julius Ssekitoleko, the Ugandan weightlifter who grabbed international headlines when he went on Friday 16th July 2021 from the Olympic village facilities in Izumisano City, Japan has returned to Uganda safely.

Ssekitoleko did not meet the set Olympic standards in the latest International rankings and consequently fled the Team Uganda camp during pre-Olympics training in western Japan last week.

In a joint operation between Japanese Authorities and the Ugandan Embassy in Japan, Ssekitoleko was tracked down in Mie Prefecture on 20th July 2021.

Julius Ssekitoleko was seen off  at the Airport by officials of the Ugandan Embassy and Japanese Immigration Authorities who ensured his safe and orderly passage out of Japan. 

Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, he was received by officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education and Sports.

Weightlifter Ssekitoleko’s Japan dream came to a rude end when he was arrested and flown back home (Photo: courtesy)

Officials revealed that government is  committed to continuous rehabilitation of the Ssekitoleko  to assist him settle to further develop his career 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 .

There was an outburst on social media with many arguing that Ssekitoleko would have been left to eke out a better life considering that he was coming back to nothing.

They argue that prior his departure from Uganda, Sekitoleko had not paid his rent arrears for about one year and

his landlord recently followed up with a threat to evict the athlete and his pregnant wife.

The icing on top of the cake is the fact that the gym at which Julius Ssekitoleko had been working had not paid him for an entire year.

However, a government official who spoke to this website reveals that Ssekitoleko’s 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 Games

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