10 members of the sports team participating in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom, have gone missing from troubled Sri Lanka. This information is known from the news agency AFP report about a top sports official in Sri Lanka. They are believed to have fled the party to stay in the UK.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP on Sunday that nine athletes and a manager were missing after the event ended. Three of them went missing last week. They are judoka Chamila Delani, her manager Asela de Silva and wrestler Shanith Chaturanga.
After this incident Sri Lankan officials filed a complaint with the police.
The Sri Lankan sports official also said that seven more people went missing after that. However, he did not reveal their names. The official added, “We suspect they want to stay in the UK, perhaps to get a job.”
To ensure the return of all the 160 players participating in the Commonwealth Games, the management authorities kept their passports with them. However, they could not prevent some people from escaping.
British police have identified the first three missing athletes. However, no action was taken against them as they did not break the local law and the visa validity was up to six months.
The official of the Sri Lankan sports team said, “Actually, the police took back the passports that we had left with the players to prevent them from leaving the team.” The police did not tell us anything about their location.
Sri Lankan athletes have been seen missing from international sporting events in the past as well. The Sri Lankan wrestling team manager went missing from an international championship tournament in Oslo in October last year.
Two Sri Lankan athletes went missing after competing in the Asian Games held in South Korea in 2014. They were never found.
A similar incident happened in 2004 as well. Sri Lanka has not yet formed a national handball team. At that time, a team of 23 members escaped under the name of going to play handball in a tournament in Germany.