By LEE MWITIPosted Friday, August 17 2012 at 12:16-The delegations of beaming athletes and officials shuffling by at the opening and closing ceremonies of major competitions such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games
are often heart-warming to watch.
But behind this display of humanity’s diversity, there are athletes and sports aficionados with other ideas.
At the just-ended London Olympics for example, 204 countries sent proud representatives. However, at the end of the action fest, some athletes took the liberty of unilaterally extending their stay by just disappearing in the crowd.
More often than not this “phobia” of going home often develops when a competition is staged in the West, although even African capitals have in recent years offered the same opportunities.
In London, a judoka and three coaches from the Democratic Republic of Congo went missing from the Olympic Village, just days after it was reported that a clutch of Cameroonian sportsmen had absconded from their delegation.
“What began as rumour has finally turned out to be true,” a flustered Team Cameroon mission head David Ojong told the Cameroonian sports ministry in a letter.
“Seven Cameroonian athletes who participated at the 2012 London Olympic Games have disappeared from the Olympic Village.”
It is expected that they will claim asylum, but unamused London authorities are putting on a brave face, saying the missing athletes have visas that are valid until November.
The Cameroonians have since come out to claim that they were threatened by officials although the nature of the intimidation was not immediately clear. A guess of poor performance could be hazarded, given they had all been convincingly drubbed in their events.
Africa Review 8/17/2012