Athletes and coaches numbering more than a dozen from nations including Cameroon, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Ivory Coast “disappeared” from the Olympic village before the closing ceremony and have not returned home. Meanwhile, of the twelve athletes from Eritrea, four have already claimed asylum in the U.K.
While most of the asylum-seeking athletes have refused to make any public statements about their decisions, one of such athletes, Eritrea’s, 18-year-old Olympic flag-bearer, Weynay Ghebresilasie, has revealed that he claimed political asylum in the U.K. on the day of the Games’ closing ceremony to avoid returning home to the country he had just represented in the Olympics!
Ghebresilasie, a steeplechaser, had finished tenth in his first-round heat and did not advance. Although he called his trip to the Olympics “a dream come true” he blamed his disappointing performance on “mismanagement and politics.”
In his words, “The truth is that we are not treated as athletes. For example, there were times when we went to other countries to compete and I was denied medical treatment by the Eritrean officials in charge, some of them high ranking-army officers.”
Source: the Guardian