Five boxers and three weightlifters from Cameroon have gone missing from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games athlete’s village since Sunday.
The athletes – boxers Arsene Fokou, Ulrich Yombo, Christelle Ndiang, Simplice Fotsala and Christian Ndzie Tsoye, and weightlifters Olivier Matam Matam, Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou and Petit David Minkoumba – left the village in “three waves“: three on Sunday, two more on Monday, and the final three last night, according to the country’s Chef de Mission, Victor Agbor Nso.
Most had already competed in their respective events, but some, such as Christian Ndzie Tsoye, had not – he didn’t turn up to his 91-kg boxing quarter-final yesterday, giving his opponent, New Zealand‘s David Nyika, a walkover win.
Nso said the rest of Team Cameroon – 34 in total, including basketballers and two other weightlifters – and their officials have already left Australia. Police in Oz, as well as state officials in Cameroon, have been officially notified.
Queensland Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones said that the Australian Federal Police “are keeping a watching brief on these athletes“.
Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg said that the missing athletes have not broken any laws:
These athletes are guests here in Australia. They are still within their visas, they have the right to travel freely.
It’s obviously disappointing that I think some of the athletes that have come didn’t compete as they were scheduled to compete.
The safety and welfare of those athletes from the Team Cameroon perspective is being taken very, very seriously, but we are obviously monitoring that situation with Team Cameroon.
In 2012, seven athletes from Team Cameroon were reported missing from the London Olympic Games, while in 2006, 26 athletes and officials from countries like Cameroon and Sierra Leone sought asylum in Oz after the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Two Cameroonian weightlifters Francois Etoundi and Simplice Ribouem were granted refugee status, competing for Team Australia this year.Source: SBS
Image: Getty Images / Hannah Peters