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Weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko released on police bond

Julius Ssekitoleko clad with his medals, next to his mother after being released on police bond. COURTESY PHOTOS

Ugandan Weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko has finally been released on police bond after six days of detention since his return from Japan where he had disappeared from an Olympic training camp.

Up to today, no charge had been brought against him.

According to CID spokesperson, Mr. Charles Mansio Twiine, the Olympic team officials who are still in Japan will have to explain the events leading to Ssekitoleko’s disappearance in the camp when they return after the Olympics games.

Ssekitoleko, 24, was tracked down in Japan last Tuesday, several days after he fled from an Olympic training camp in an act a Ugandan minister had branded ‘unacceptable conduct and treachery’.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday said Ssekitokelo who was greeted by government officials when he flew into Entebbe airport had ‘violated the code of conduct’ of the Ugandan Olympic team and would now undergo counseling.

Ugandan officials said the athlete had found out he would not be able to compete at the Games because he did not meet Olympic standards in the latest international rankings.

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A note was found in Ssekitoleko’s hotel room in which he said he wanted to work in Japan and asked that his belongings be sent to his family in Uganda.

Salim Musoke Ssenkungu, president of the Ugandan Weightlifting Federation, said Ssekitoleko had been training ‘very hard’ for his first Olympic weightlifting competition.

‘He’s not from a rich family so it took a lot of interest and energy from him to be successful,’ Ssenkungu said.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem said last week that the Ugandan government had already apologised to the government of Japan, adding: ‘It was unacceptable conduct and treachery.’

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On Friday, the government said in a statement it was ‘committed to (Ssekitoleko’s) continuous rehabilitation’ to help him in 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’.

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