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7 Cameroon Olympic Athletes Have Disappeared

  • Anita Powell

Cameroon's athletes march on the parade during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium, July 27, 2012.
LONDON — Cameroon's Olympic chief says seven of the country's Olympic competitors have disappeared after coming to the Games in London.

A source close to the Cameroonian camp said Tuesday that the missing competitors include five boxers, one swimmer and a female soccer player.

Media reports say David Ojong, head of Cameroon's Olympic mission, sent a letter to the nation’s sports ministry about the incident. In the letter, he said that the seven athletes had “disappeared” from the Olympic village.

VOA’s source, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the group left after collecting the 2.5 million Central African francs, or about $4,700, that Cameroon’s government gave them for participating in the Games.

None of them had won any medals.

The source said they left the Olympic village on the night of August 5 and that their whereabouts are currently unknown.

He described their departure as an “open secret” in London's Cameroonian community. He also said the athletes apparently left to seek more economic opportunities abroad.

Three officials from the Cameroonian government and Olympic committee refused to comment on the record Tuesday, including Ojong, though none of them denied that the competitors had left.

The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday referred all questions on the matter to Cameroonian officials.

VOA spoke to one of the boxers just before his competition last week. At that time, superheavyweight Blaise Yepmou Mendouo said he was certain of winning a gold medal and that he was well prepared.

Cameroon sent a total of 37 athletes to London for the summer games.

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