Police in Spain are looking into the disappearance of four members of Cameroon’s women’s handball team, who have allegedly gone missing during an ongoing tournament.
Their sport’s world championships started on December 1 in Valencia and will run until Sunday next week.
Cameroon’s women were drawn into Group B with the Russian Handball Federation, Serbia and Poland, and lost all three games against their opposition.
World Women’s Handball Championship – Spain
Cameroon to face Poland today at 6:00 pm in their third game in Group B pic.twitter.com/ECo0UE7xW8
— Pavel's Sportsbiz (@P_Sportsbiz) December 7, 2021
Readying to return to their homeland, however, four members of the team have allegedly absconded from their hotel.
Amelie Sevani Mwua, Apollene Michel Abena Ekobena, Yasmine Yotchum and Jodelle Clarice Majufang reportedly did not show up for a Covid test at the accommodation scheduled for 7:30 am.
They haven’t been seen since Wednesday evening, when they got into a taxi outside the building, but officials have revealed their reasons for concluding that the disappearance was on their own terms.
“It seems the women left of their own accord,” said a police spokesman.
Elsewhere, it was added that the incident is not being treated as suspicious “as the players took all their belongings.”
“In principle, there is nothing that would allow us to say that this is an enforced disappearance,” it added.
Athletes often use sporting spectacles abroad to escape poor living or training conditions in their homeland and seek asylum.
During this year’s Olympics, 20-year-old Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko also fled his hotel, leaving a note that said he didn’t want to go home and wished to find work in the host country.
Four days later, he was found in central Japan unharmed and with his ID, before being arrested at Entebbe Airport upon re-arrival in Africa.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, seven Cameroonians – five male boxers, a female footballer, and a male swimmer – disappeared from the Olympic Village and were believed to be searching for “greener pastures”.