An athlete from Sierra Leone has reportedly vanished from the athletes village in Glasgow after failing to turn up for his event at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
The west African country's mountain bike riding champion Mohamed Tholley, 25, was scheduled to race in the time trial on Thursday and then the road race on Saturday but did not appear at the start line.
The London Daily Telegraph reported that Tholley's room key was later found in his hotel room. Sierra Leone's chef de mission in Glasgow, Unisa Deen Kargbo, told the newspaper that he may have disappeared to avoid returning to his home country, where an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus led to the declaration of a state of emergency on Thursday.
"Unfortunately one of our athletes has not turned up for his event and we do not know where he is. It is possible he is not coming back," he said.
"The situation is very serious at home, and it is possible this is why he does not want to return. It is very bad there.
"We are all very concerned about what is going on, but the rest of us are determined to go home. The only problem is that is becoming difficult to find flights."
Tholley's suspected abscondment comes after his teammate Moses Sesay spent four days in isolation in a Glasgow hospital before tests for Ebola came up negative and he was cleared to return and compete on Thursday.
A spokesperson for Glasgow 2014 said they were unaware of Tholley's disappearance.
"We have not had a single report of any athlete that has gone missing."
Sesay, 32, was taken to a Glasgow hospital on Thursday last week, a day after the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, after falling ill.
"I was sick. I felt tired and listless. All the doctors were in special suits to treat me - they dressed like I had Ebola. I was very scared," he said on Thursday, when he competed in the men's individual time trial, finishing at the back of the field in 56th place.
Sesay was given the all-clear, testing negative, and released on Monday, it was reported in Scottish newspapers on Friday.
"I was admitted for four days and they tested me for Ebola. It came back negative but they did it again and this time sent it to London, where it was also negative," he said.
"After that, the doctors dressed normally again so I was relieved. I would like to thank the Scottish medical staff, they were very good."
An outbreak of Ebola in west African countries including Sierra Leone has left more than 700 people dead since February, prompting Sesay's home country to declare a state of emergency on Thursday.
When Sesay fell ill, there were concerns he may have contracted the disease as well, but Commonwealth Games organisers were quick to hose down any hysteria.
"Just to be really clear, there is no Ebola in the athletes village. There is no Ebola virus in Scotland," a Glasgow 2014 spokesperson said.
"We can confirm an athlete was tested for a number of things when he fell ill last week, including Ebola.
"The tests were negative and the athlete competed in his event on Thursday."
Australia's team leader in Glasgow, Steve Moneghetti, said the subject was raised at a meeting of chefs de mission in Glasgow on Friday morning where it was reaffirmed that there was no danger of Ebola in the village.
"There are zero issues with that. They clearly told us this morning that that's not happening," Moneghetti said.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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