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ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Sports Ministry is investigating the circumstances of the apparent disappearance of nine athletes and an official from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK, Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe has said.

Ranasinghe told EconomyNext on Monday August 08 that he had advised the Secretary of the Ministry of Sports to collect information regarding athletes who left the Games Village without notice.

“We need to know if they are in trouble, or in any other emergency or what happened to them. I asked the secretary of the department to look into the matter. We have not yet received full information on the situation,” he said.

Initially, three athletes had left the village last week, followed by seven more later.

A senior sports official from Sri Lanka who is currently part of the UK team said the athletes left the village after competing in their respective events.

“I can only assume that those athletes who have been training regularly for a long time may have taken a break because they have a valid six-month visa,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“They left the games village after participating in their respective events. In fact, once it was brought to the attention of the local authorities, they felt that they had a visa valid for six months.

“The official is a manager of the Judo team. Other athletes come from judo, wrestling, boxing and beach volleyball teams. The athletes are two women and seven men. We hope they will come back,” the official said.

International media have reported that the Sri Lankan authorities who had kept the passports of all the teams as a deterrent against such acts of disappearance have now returned the passports to the athletes at the request of the authorities in Birmingham.

The senior official said most of the athletes who have completed their trials have already returned to Sri Lanka, while 10 others are staying until the end of their trials and hope to return on Tuesday August 09. (Colombo/Aug08/2022)

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