Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko, who disappeared from the radar in Japan during his preparation for the Olympic Games, has to answer to a judge in his own country. His lawyer said the 20-year-old athlete, who failed to qualify for Tokyo but was on the reserve list, had been charged with “conspiracy to cheat”. After hearing the charges, he was released on conditions.
Ssekitoleko disappeared from the training camp the week before the Games, leaving behind a note that read: “I want to live in Japan because it is difficult in Uganda”. Several days later, he was tracked down in Yokkaichi, a town near Nagoya, and then put on a plane home.
After returning to Kampala, the young weightlifter, who is in the 67-kilogram category, was arrested by the police.
He was imprisoned for five days. According to his lawyer, that should not have been allowed, given the offense.
Representatives of Ugandan sports federations, including the weightlifting federation, also asked for his release and leniency because Ssekitoleko comes from a poor family and had no evil in him, just an Olympic dream.
Upon arrival in Japan at the end of June, two members of the Ugandan delegation had also tested positive for the delta variant of the coronavirus. All delegation members were pre-vaccinated. The Ugandans were one of the first teams to arrive in Japan. On Tuesday they moved from Izumisano to the Olympic village.