Art and Culture

Three Members of Sri Lanka’s Team Abscond from Games Village 

todayAugust 5, 2022

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The Sri Lankan team has asked its athletes and officials at the Commonwealth Games to turn in their passports after three members went missing. 

The nation, which is experiencing a major economic crisis, confirmed late Wednesday that a wrestler, a judoka, and a judo coach have disappeared from one of the Commonwealth Games villages housing athletes and officials. 

It is understood the trio have surrendered their passports so are not able to leave the country. 

Officials have now removed documents for all remaining members of the team currently at the games in Birmingham. 

All 161 athletes and coaching staff were granted standard 180-day visas by the government for the event. 

Sri Lankan team spokesperson Gobinath Sivarajah told The Telegraph in India that Birmingham police are investigating the absence of the three members. 

“We have asked all athletes and officials to submit their passports to our respective venue officials in all the villages after the incident,” he said.  

“The police are investigating and the three cannot cross the UK borders. What has happened is really unfortunate.”

The scandal has overshadowed one of the country’s greatest athletics results after Yupun Abeykoon won the bronze medal in the men’s 100m at Alexander Stadium in a time of 10.14 on Thursday morning. 

At the 2018 Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, almost one-third of the Cameroon team went missing after the event. Rwanda´s weightlifting coach also fled during a toilet break at the host stadium. 

It was reported at least 230 athletes and officials lodged applications for protection visas in Australia after the event, but the majority were denied. 

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is poised for further unrest after demonstrators said they would defy demands from police to clear the Galle Face site in the capital of Colombo by Friday evening, which has been the epicentre of nationwide anti-government protests since April. 

Protesters had called for a mass demonstration on August 9 in Colombo, in an attempt to get Ranil Wickremesighe, the country’s new president, to resign. 

Bankrupt Sri Lanka owes over £39 billion to lenders but only has around £100 million in the bank, resulting in nationwide shortages of fuel, food and essential medicines. 

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