Gold Coast - Five
more African athletes may have vanished from the Commonwealth Games,
organisers said on Thursday, after eight competitors from Cameroon were
suspected of fleeing a day earlier.
Gold Coast organisers confirmed reports that athletes from Rwanda and
Uganda were thought to have gone missing, while they were also looking
to verify the whereabouts of two squash players from Sierra Leone.
"We're obviously looking at it very carefully," Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg told reporters.
"We have a service to people who have legitimate visas to be in this country," he added.
"Until it becomes a true issue and somebody has outstayed their visa,
or have formally applied for asylum, we just need to continue to
monitor the situations.
"The focus now is to support teams in trying to track down the athletes who are missing."
More than 100 athletes overstayed their visas at the 2000 Sydney
Olympics. Athlete visas for the Commonwealth Games expire on May 15,
Eight athletes from conflict-hit Cameroon - one third of the central
African country's 24-strong team - were said to be missing from the
Commonwealth Games on Wednesday, sparking an Australian Border Force
As the search continues for Cameroon's five boxers and three
weightlifters, Grevemberg insisted the welfare of the athletes came
"We obviously have been in close contact with Cameroon officials," he said.
"We share their concern regarding obviously the safety, welfare, whereabouts of these athletes."
Cameroon team manager Victor Agbor Nso told local media he had reported the matter to police on Wednesday.
Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warned that athletes
would be forcibly removed from the country if they attempted to overstay
"They aren't going to game the system," he told local radio.
"Australian Border Force officers will find these people (and) they'll
be held in immigration detention until they can be deported."