Kampala: Three more Ugandan athletes have disappeared in Australia after the conclusion of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Charles Bakkabulindi, minister of state for sports said on Thursday that the three did not board the plane to return home, Xinhua reported.
The three who disappeared include Regan Ssimbwa, Nasir Bashir and table tennis female player Halima Nambozo. This brings the number to five Ugandans who disappeared during this sports event. Last week two weightlifters Irene Kasubo and Kalidi Batuusa disappeared. Bakkabulindi said that this behaviour may make it difficult for countries to give Ugandan athletes visas to attend international sports events.
"We are also going to screen players more, so that we are sure athletes will not disappear when they travel to represent the country. We must become tough with this matter," the minister said. Robert Jjagwe, Chairman of the Uganda Table Tennis Association said it is sad that one of their gifted female players had chosen to vanish.
Besides Uganda, athletes from Rwanda, Cameroon and Sierra Leone are reported to have vanished during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Authorities in Australia said they will only start looking for the athletes who disappeared during the Games when their visas expire on May 15.
Uganda finished in 15th place after sending a team of 69 athletes and competed in 11 disciplines. Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei won two gold medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m, while Stella Chesang bagged the women's 10,000m gold medal and Mercyline Chelangat bagged a bronze in the same race. Boxer Juma Miiro picked a bronze medal in the 46-49kg weight category.