By Ahmad Muto
Weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko whose stay in Japan was cut short after he was forced to return to the country and spend a few days in the coolers has been given a new lease of life.
Ssekitoleko fled from his Olympic camp in Tokyo, Japan after failing to qualify for the ongoing Olympics, leaving behind a note saying he wanted to work there. Given his financial woes that became a subject of sympathy and public uproar, on Monday, August 2 Sylvia Namutebi, popularly known as Mama Phina gifted him a motorcycle, a replacement of the one he sold in order to go and represent Uganda plus sh2m to enable him leave his mother’s house, where he has been living since he returned having defaulted on rent where he lived.
Ssekitoleko, 20, says he has a pregnant wife that he has been unable to provide for because he can barely sustain himself. Despite being forced back into the country, he has denied the narrative that he was deported recounting that he handed himself over to the authorities voluntarily.
He competed in the men’s 56kg weightlifting final at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018. He disappeared on Friday, July 16, 2021, booked a train and traveled 120km from his designated place of abode sparking headlines across the globe. He was flown back on Friday, July 23, 2021 and detained for six days at Jinja Police station.