Every four years, the Olympics, World Cup and Commonwealth Games bring us plenty of drama on and off the field. This year has been no different with eight athletes from Cameroon absconding from the Gold Coast village during the Commonwealth Games that ended over a week ago. Here are some who did it in style
1. Cameroon ‘hide’ Down Under
Like it has become their habit, Cameroon declared eight of their athletes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which ended in Australia last week, missing according to a statement they released on April 11.
The central African country sent a 24-man team to Gold Coast and eight of them were reported to have vanished in the space of three days.
Three of them disappeared on the night of April 8, while two reported missing on April 9, while the remaining group left at night on April 10. Two of the eight left without competing.
2. Guinea athletes miss after Rio
The head of Guinea’s Olympic delegation said two athletes did not return to the West African nation after competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Atef Chaloub said swimmer Amadou Camara disappeared 48 hours before the team’s scheduled departure while Mamadama Bangoura, who competed in judo, also did not return to Guinea, having disappeared after leaving a message saying she wanted to “try her luck” abroad.
Osman goes AWOL Bangladesh’s shambolic campaign in the 2015 Asian Games hit another low as it emerged that a karateka went missing from the Games Village upon the conclusion of the event on October 3 that year.
Shamim Osman, 28, participated in the 60kg weight category and lost to Chinese opponent Wang Zhiwei by eight points, and he never returned to the village after the completion of his event on October 3.
4. Asians disappear at Asian Games
Still at the 2015 Asian Games, six other athletes went missing from the Games Village and were thought to be looking for work illegally in South Korea. Three of the six were from Nepal, two from Sri Lanka and one from Palestine. “There must be brokers or people they know who are helping them out.
The immigration office has already gathered information and sources, so they are conducting the investigation and we are giving them support,” a South Korean police official was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.
5. Eritrean have made it a habit
After Eritrea were eliminated from the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, which was won by Kenya in 2013, 12 men disappeared. It was not the first time players from the national squad have defected abroad.
In December 2012, 17 players and the team doctor claimed asylum in Uganda, 18 months after 13 players from an Eritrean club sought refuge in Tanzania. And in 2009, a dozen members of the national team disappeared in Kenya.
6. Cameroon Olympians
After their events at the 2012 London Olympics ended, seven athletes from Cameroon—five boxers, a swimmer and a soccer player—vanished from the Olympic Village.
t was presumed they all fled to seek political asylum. While the boxers resurfaced a few weeks later at an English gym, the whereabouts of the other two athletes are still unknown.
7. Not Cameroon again!
Boxer Thomas Essomba of Cameroon was the only athlete to attempt to defect at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He changed his mind in China and returned to Cameroon, only to disappear with six team-mates from the London Athletes’ Village four years later. He resurfaced penniless two months after the games at a Salvation Army homeless shelter in northeast England.
8. Sierra Leone are the masters
Sierra Leone’s athletes have been especially well-known for going AWOL since the end of that country’s decade-long civil war. Fourteen of the 21 athletes sent to Melbourne in 2006 filed for asylum in Australia.
At the 2002 Manchester games, 21 members of the 30-person team went missing. Athletes aren’t the only ones who give their minders the slip. Eleven Girl Scouts from Sierra Leone disappeared from the 2011 World Scout Jamboree in Sweden. Some were later seen boarding a train to Denmark.
9. Barret Robbins
In January 2003, the Raiders centre went missing the day before he was supposed to play in Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego. It turns out that Robbins was partying in Tijuana, Mexico, after not taking his depression medication. He resurfaced the night before the Super Bowl, but the Raiders decided to leave him off the roster.
10. ‘Joel Ron Mckelvey’
The day before the 1995 Sugar Bowl, a Texas defensive back who went by the name “Joel Ron McKelvey” went missing after a newspaper revealed he was actually 30-year-old Ron Weaver, who had played small-time college football a decade before.
Weaver, who did not have the NCAA eligibility to play using his true identity, initially denied the allegations to his coach, but soon afterward bolted for California. He later pleaded guilty to fraudulently using a Social Security number, but served no jail time.