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Sports: 13 athletes have vanished at the Commonwealth Games — and it’s hardly the first time it’s happened
PublishedBy: in Business Insider/SportsApril 12, 2018

Petit Minkoumba

Eight Cameroon athletes have vanished without a trace, while five other athletes from African countries have also gone missing.

  • Eight Cameroon athletes have vanished without a trace at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia.
  • Five other athletes from African countries have also gone missing — but it is not the first time athletes have disappeared.
  • Cameroon athletes were also reported missing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
  • And 25 athletes vanished at the 2006 games in Melbourne.

Eight Cameroon athletes have vanished without a trace at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia — and it's hardly the first time it has happened.

Cameroon sent a delegation of 24 members to the Gold Coast in Queensland to take part in the Commonwealth Games — an Olympic style multi-sport event for athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations.

However, a third of the country's members have gone missing over the course of three days.

Their disappearance has been reported to Australian police but Cameroon spokesman Simon Molombe does not expect to see them again. "I don't think they will be back," he said, according to CNN.

Cameroon officials named the following athletes as missing:

  1. Olivier Matam Matam (weightlifter)
  2. Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou (weightlifter)
  3. Petit Minkoumba (weightlifter)
  4. Christian Ndzie Tsoye (boxer)
  5. Simplice Fotsala (boxer)
  6. Arsene Fokou (boxer)
  7. Ulrich Yombo (boxer)
  8. Christelle Ndiang (boxer)

"The authorities are very disappointed with the deserters — some did not even compete," Molombe said, according to the BBC. "The pious hope is that they come back to the village and travel home with the others."

Cameroon is not the only nation to lose its athletes as the Daily Mail has claimed two Sierra Leone athletes, two Ugandan competitors, and one athlete from Rwanda are also unaccounted for.

Athletes have a habit of going missing

This is not the first time athletes have gone missing at the Commonwealth Games.

Two Cameroonians went missing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The BBC claimed they were last seen at the country's training camp near the Aberdeen Sports Village in Scotland, before the Commonwealth Games had even started. One was found in London, England three days later.

In total, UK Government officials lost track of 39 foreign athletes who attended the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, according to The Sunday Post. One year on from the Games, in 2015, the Home Office admitted they did not know where the athletes were as they were "unable to confirm" whether they had even left Britain.

Athletes vanishing has been a theme at many games, as noted by Public Radio International. In a report published four years ago, PRI said: "Twenty-five athletes went missing during the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. Another 26 disappeared during the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002."

In most cases, PRI stressed, athletes "disappeared by choice."

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