Ugandan weightlifter missing from hotel at Tokyo Summer OlympicsA Ugandan weightlifter in Japan who’d been hoping to compete in the Tokyo Summer Olympics went missing from his hotel Friday despite COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on athletes, local officials said. Officials with the city of Izumisano told Kyodo News that Julius Ssekitoleko, 20, was missing from his hotel room when they stopped by his room to give him a COVID-19 test. He was staying near a training camp in Osaka prefecture and was confined to a “bubble” for athletes to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Ssekitoleko left a note saying he didn’t want to return to Uganda and directed his team to give his possessions to his wife back home, city officials said. “I want to work in Japan,” the note read. Ssekitoleko traveled to Japan in June but was unable to secure a spot to compete in the Summer Games, which open next week. He is due to fly back to Uganda with his coach on Tuesday, Salim Musoke, the president of the Uganda Weightlifting Federation, told The New York Times. Musoke said he was surprised to learn of Ssekitoleko’s disappearance because all athletes handed over their passports and the hotel was guarded. “What happened to the security they have been talking about?” Musoke questioned. “Athletes disappearing is not good for the country.” He said he hopes Japanese officials capture Ssekitoleko and said he should be expelled from the sport. Since the Ugandan delegation’s arrival in Japan on June 19, two people have tested positive for COVID-19. The team hasn’t revealed the identities of the two and it’s unclear if Ssekitoleko was one of them.
Cavaliers’ Kevin Love withdraws from Tokyo OlympicsTeam USA’s Men’s National Team was forced to replace another basketball star for the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, with forward Kevin Love announcing his withdrawal through his agent, Jeff Schwartz. “I am incredibly disappointed to not be heading to Tokyo with Team USA, but you need to be at absolute peak performance to compete at the Olympic level, and I am just not there yet,” Love said in a statement released by Schwartz to ESPN. Sources told ESPN, The Athletic, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Love decided to withdraw from the Summer Games due to his lingering right calf injury. USA Basketball announced Thursday that Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will not participate for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics. Beal was placed in the COVID-19 health and safety protocols earlier this week. Team USA also canceled its scheduled exhibition game against Australia on Friday “out of an abundance of caution.” Sources told The Athletic and ESPN that San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson and Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee will replace Beal and Love on the Team USA roster for Tokyo. Love missed 46 games last season due to injury. He averaged 12.2 points per game in 2020-21 for the Cavaliers. He scored one point in two exhibition game appearances for Team USA this summer in Las Vegas. Team USA’s final exhibition game is against Spain on Friday in Las Vegas. The men’s team meets France in its first game of the Tokyo Olympics at 8 a.m. EDT July 25 in Saitama, Japan.
Australia’s Cambage withdraws, cites mental healthLiz Cambage, the top player on the Australian Women’s National Team, withdrew from the Olympics on Friday to address her mental health, the Las Vegas Aces center and Australian Olympic Committee announced. “Anyone that knows me knows one of my biggest dreams is winning an Olympic gold medal with the [Australian] Opals,” Cambage wrote on social media. “Every athlete competing in the Olympic games should be at their mental and physical peak, and at the moment, I’m a long way from where I want and need to be.” Cambage wrote about her past “struggles with mental health” and said she is worried about the Olympic “bubble.” No family, friends or fans are allowed to attend events and support the athletes in Tokyo due to the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s honestly terrifying for me,” Cambage wrote. “The past month, I have been having panic attacks, not sleeping and not eating. “Relying on daily medication to control my anxiety is not the place I want to be right now. Especially walking into competition on the world’s biggest sporting stage.” Sources told The Athletic and ESPN on Thursday that Cambage was involved in physical and verbal altercations during a closed practice game against Nigeria earlier this week. The Australian Olympic Committee said Basketball Australia is investigating the incident. Cambage, 29, averaged 14.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for the Las Vegas Aces in the first half of the 2021 WNBA season. The Australian Olympic Committee said it will “explore” the potential for a late replacement for the four-time WNBA All-Star on the National Team roster. “Liz has made a great contribution to the Australian Olympic Team over two Olympic Games campaigns,” Australian Olympic Committee vice president Ian Chesterman said in a news release. “We respect her decision and wish her the best in returning to full health. “Our focus now moves to working with the Opals so they can achieve the goals they have set for themselves in Tokyo. We know they are totally committed to achieving success in Tokyo and they will still bring a incredibly strong team to this campaign,” The Australian women’s team will face Team USA in another warm-up exhibition game at 2:30 p.m. EDT Friday in Las Vegas. Australia will battle Belgium in a preliminary game at the Tokyo Olympics at 4:20 a.m. EDT July 27 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Team USA basketball cancels game due to COVID-19The United States Men’s National Team’s pre-Olympic exhibition game against Australia on Friday is canceled due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, USA Basketball announced. USA Basketball announced the cancellation late Thursday. The U.S. Women’s National Team is still scheduled to face Australia on Saturday in Las Vegas as the teams prepare for the postponed 2020 Summer Games. Team USA guard Bradley Beal was placed in USA Basketball’s health and safety protocols Wednesday and was ruled unable to participate in the Tokyo Olympics. USA Basketball said Thursday that forward Jerami Grant also was placed in the protocols. U.S. National Team coach Gregg Popovich told reporters last week that three members of the USA Select Team tested positive for COVID-19. The Select Team plays against the National Team at practices. Team USA is expected to replace Beal on the roster ahead of the Summer Games. The U.S. men and women are still scheduled to face Spain and Nigeria in respective exhibition matchups Sunday in Las Vegas. The men’s team meets France in its first game of the Tokyo Olympics at 8 a.m. EDT on July 25 in Saitama, Japan. Reporting for this Olympics Rundown comes from Alex Butler and Danielle Haynes
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