By Richard Luce in East London
The entire boxing team of the West African country of Cameroon at the London 2012 Olympics Games, has fled the Olympic Village in Stratford, East London, just six days before the games end. Breaking the news Tuesday, a British cable news network, Sky News said the boxers are among seven Cameroon athletes among the 37 that came to participate in this year’s Olympic Games who have abandoned the games and whose whereabouts were until this morning unknown to Cameroon officials.
The other two athletes who joined the boxers on the run are a woman footballer and a swimmer. All held visa permits allowing them to stay in the country until November this year. David Ojong from Team Cameroon gave the names of the athletes as being Thomas Essomba, 24, (Light Fly); Christian Adjoufack, 28, (Light Heavy); Abdon Mewoli, 26, (light); Blaise Yepmou Mendouo, 27, (Super Heavy) and Serge Ambomo, 26, (Light Welter); Drusille Ngako, 25, a standby goalkeeper for Cameroon’s women’s team and swimmer Paul Ekane Edingue, 21.
While the Cameroonian athletes are yet to appear anywhere to give the reason for their disappearance, it is feared that they may be in the process of seeking political asylum. Just before the games begun a week ago, A Sudanese long distance runner surprised Olympic Games organizers when he walked into the Bridewell Police Station near the northern English city of Leeds and told astonished policemen he was being persecuted in his country and was seeking asylum. He was subsequently handed over to the UK Border Agency and has never been heard of again.
Athletes from developing countries, especially those from countries that have been involved in wars, dictatorships and famine, are now looking beyond the 2012 Olympic Games here in London wondering what their future holds once the games end and they return home. While athletes from developed countries are enjoying themselves in night clubs and partying till morning, those from less fortunate countries know what they have left in their countries. Many are therefore determined to make a dash to escape the war, poverty and political persecution most prevalent in quite a few countries participating in the London Games.
This is a developing story and will be updated as we get more information during the day.