Julius Ssekitoleko has become a household name in the past few weeks!
The Weightlifter who escaped from camp in Japan is currently detained at Jinja Road Police Station after deportation back to Uganda, last week.
Ssekitoleko was one of nine Ugandan Athletes who left for Japan last month to make early preparations for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic games.
It was reported that he would not get a chance to represent his nation after failing to make the cut, just over a week to the games.
However, this website has learnt that the 20-year old had no chance of taking part in the games because he had not qualified, falling short in the qualifiers in Morocco in 2019.
After learning that he would be flown back home, a few days to the games, Ssekitoleko disappeared but later turned himself in and was deported.
On Monday, July 26, he spoke to the Shadow minister for Sports Hon. Kayemba Solo, who visited him at Jinja Road Police station. He revealed to Kayemba that he had been taken to Japan yet he was not going to compete at the Olympics.
“I was taken to Japan yet i would not be competing and the day i was informed, i had already gotten tired of the situation because i didnt want it too. Ssekitoleko said in a voice recording.
“Imagine you are flown from here thinking you are going to compete yet it is the other way round. I was in the blue about everything with the government doing everything and i was taken just like that.
“When i reached there, i was told that my things had failed and i would be returning to Kampala on the 20th. It was so saddening because i had sacrificed a lot yet i was not working but just trying my best to earn a living here in Kamapla.”
Ssekitoleko says his only source of income was helping out at a friend’s Gym where he would earn between two and three thousand shillings.
“I was not working previously. I was earning small money that i got off training people at the gym. The gym is not mine but for a friend called Ivan with whom i would share the two or three thousand i get off helping people with their work outs.”
The ‘Olympian’ who disappeared on July 16, says he left camp with just 100 Dollars and headed for the City of Nagoya where an unknown Ugandan helped him out at first before he was taken to a Pakisitani who was supposed to hire him (Ssekitoleko).
“I left camp with just simple knowledge about a city called Nagoya. When i reached the train station, i used the 100 dollars i had to secure a buy and i left. I boarded different trains and would move from one to another without inquiring anything but simply showing off the ticket. When i reached Nagoya, i moved from one place to another not knowing where exactly i was.
“As i was still loitering around, i met a Uganda from whom i asked help in terms of shelter and probably directions to a company where i could, later, sleep or even work. I told him that i needed a place to sleep but did not explain much. So he sat me in his car and took me to his home where i spent the night.
“In the morning, he woke up and left for work and when he returned in the evening, we had supper at around 9pm and he drove me to a Pakistani’s residence which was like a distance from Kampala to Masaka.
“When we reached there, the Ugandan left me with the guy from Pakistan who asked me for documents that i did not have. I told him that i didn’t have my passport but he insisted that he need it so as to hire me. He showed me around the place and the work which i would be doing, which was to sort garbage. I was ready to face the situation as i was desperate not to return to Kampala because i had no work there.”
Unwanted cars which were collected by the Pakistani were Ssekitoleko’s shelter for the night.
“The Pakistani guy had several cars in his yard where i would hide every time he sent me away. He collects unwanted cars so i sneaked in one and spent the night.
“Very early in the morning, the Police came to his place and inquired about me and he told them he had seen me but had asked for my documents so as to hire me. After the Police left, i got out of the car and went to his door and knocked. He first asked whether i had brought the documents and then later told me that the Police was looking for me.
“I told him to take me to them after breakfast and he obliged. The Police took me in and i narrated my story in-form of a statement. I told them that i was not going to compete but also didn’t want to go back to Uganda because i had no work there. I asked them to at least put me in a refugee camp where i can later pick-up, from. They told me that they first needed to show me off to the Ugandan authorities who had been looking for me.
“We went to Ugandan embassy in Tokyo but i did not want to be taken inside so they left me at a nearby Police station where i spent the night.
Ssekitoleko says he survives by a wife and child with whom they struggle to make ends meet.
On return to Kampala, he learnt that his wife had been evicted from the house they were renting due to accumulated arrears.
“I have a wife here but the situation is so bad. If my mum has some food, i take it to my wife and we eat if not, we sleep hungry, at times. I had a house where i was staying and paying in instalments because i could not afford to pay fully. I have since learnt that my wife was evicted from the house.”
The 20-year old says that he was promised a Boutique business by Uganda Olympic Committee General Secretary Beatrice Patience Ayikoru, upon return to Uganda.
“In Japan, i did not get any problems even after i had turned my self in. Japanese Police asked me to decide on whether to return to Uganda or stay in their country and they assured me that they would help me start a life in their country if i chose to stay.
“However, the Ugandan authorities who included Madam Beatrice (Ayikoru) and a Boxing coach asked me what i wanted and i requested that they bring me back home and set up a business for me because the money i expected to get in Japan was to help me start the business which i can survive off along with my family. They told me that as soon as we reach Kampala, they would sort everything out for me and help me start it.”
Ssekitoleko says he still wants to compete for his nation but what surprised him is the claims that he stole money.
“I have games coming up where i must compete including in the Commonwealth in London and then an event in Singapore. I want the government to fulfil their promise of helping me set up the Boutique so that i run it while i train for those events.
“However, i do not know if Uganda will send me back after my deportation but what i know is that i will be allowed to compete in the UK and Singapore if the government releases me.
“The Sad thing is that i have been made to record a statement which says i stole money. I have not stolen any money and i don’t know anything about what is being said by the government. I was just taken to Japan not knowing that i was not going to compete. I am a guy who just tries to earn a day-to-day living, an athlete who loves representing his nation.”
Ssekitoleko is still detained at Jinja Road Police station and their is no indication that he will be released anytime soon.
Oh my God this is so sad to read. I can’t hold my tears
Then run and hide