Wednesday 13 December 2017

Four more athletes abscond from Olympic village

The Olympic team from Congo at the opening ceremony. Photo: Getty Images
The Olympic team from Congo at the opening ceremony. Photo: Getty Images

Richard Alleyne

AT least four members of the Democratic Republic of Congo's Olympic delegation have gone missing in London, it has emerged today.

Cedric Mandembo, who competed in judo, and coaches with the athletics, boxing and judo teams have not been seen since the closing ceremony on Sunday.

The Congo – represented in London by four athletes – failed to win a single medal.

The country's 12-strong delegation to the Games is due back in Kinshasa on Thursday.

More than a week ago, five Cameroonian boxers deserted their Olympic squad.

The boxers told the BBC they wanted to stay in the UK to develop their careers.

Mandembo competed in the +100kg (220lb) category in London, but lost his first match after 49 seconds.

The four other missing Congolese officials are reportedly boxing coach Blaise Bekwa, athletics coach Guy Nkita and judo coach Ibula Masengo.

Congolese Sports Minister Baudoin said he did not know much about the disappearances saying he left London on Monday.

"I was with officials before the closing ceremony," he said.

"They gave me a report that everything was going well."

The Congo has been ravaged by decades of war, and remains mired in poverty despite its mineral riches.

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