ONE minute Rwanda’s weightlifting coach was geeing up his team for the performance of their lives, but when he said he was going to the loo, he never came back.
His disappearance means he is among at least 13 African athletes suspected of going on the run from the Commonwealth Games in a bid to gain asylum in Australia and he is now being sought by immigration officers.
Gold Coast residents have been asked to keep a lookout for runaway African athletes on the streets of the Glitter Strip as more go missing.
The athletes from Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Rwanda are thought to have done a runner as the Games draw to a close this weekend and Games officials are bracing for more desertions.
Rwandan chef de mission Nzabaterura Eugene told The Australian that weightlifting coach Jean Paul Nsengiyumva had not been seen by the team since Tuesday.
“He was at Carrara Stadium with an athlete for the competition there and before the end of the competition the coach went to the toilet and from then we realised he was not in the stadium or the (athletes) village,” Mr Eugene said. “We had a chat to police and administration in the village. “All of his stuff is in the room (at the village).”
It comes as one migration agency on the Gold Coast revealed that more than 40 people — including athletes and journalists — have inquired about staying in Australia after the end of the Commonwealth Games.
“More than 40 people, including Commonwealth Games athletes, journalists and others have come in over the last 10 days looking for visas they can apply for and how they can stay in Australia,” Jim MacAnally, an office administrator for Ready Migration, told CNN.
Mr MacAnally said inquiries had come from a range of different nations, including several from African delegations.
Mr Eugene pleaded to his countryman to return.
“He was in a mission for the country,” he told The Australian. “If he wants to extend his visa here he can do it legally.”