10 members of Sri Lanka’s Commonwealth Games contingent have disappeared from Birmingham in an alleged attempt to stay in the UK.
According to the report of the foreign news agency ‘AFP’, the top official of Sri Lanka’s sports department said on condition of anonymity that 9 Sri Lankan athletes and a manager have disappeared after completing the sports activities.
Three of these athletes, judoka Chamila Dalani, her manager Asila De Silva and wrestler Shanth Chathuranga, went missing last week, after which Sri Lankan authorities reported to the police.
However, after that, 7 more players have gone missing, whose identities have not been revealed by the senior official.
“We suspect that the players may want to stay in the UK to seek employment,” the officer said.
The management of the 160-member Sri Lankan contingent has the passports of all members to ensure their repatriation, but even this process has failed to deter some members.
The Sri Lankan official said British police had traced the first three missing members but no action had been taken against them as they had not broken local laws and had six-month visas. .
“In fact, the police forced us to return the passports we were carrying as a deterrent against defection,” he said.
He said that the police did not inform us about their whereabouts.
In the past too, Sri Lankan players have been missing from international games.
In October last year, the Sri Lankan wrestling manager went missing after leaving his team during the World Championship tournament in Oslo.
Two Sri Lankan athletes went missing during the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea and never returned.
In 2004, when Sri Lanka did not even have a national handball team, a 23-member group pretended to represent the country and participated in a tournament in Germany, and then disappeared.