Gambian Sports Minister Henry Gomez has told CGTN that his ministry has now declared the trio officially missing.
“ I will chair a high-level inter-ministerial meeting and later hold an urgent meeting with all sports federations in the country over this matter. The government regrets the situation but will take all necessary measures to get to the bottom of the matter”
Two athletics coaches Modou Njie and Joko Colley and one of the country’s most renowned sprinters Aboulie Assin vanished from the country’s team hotel in Gold Coast and missed their flight back to Gambia.
““When they were going, they did not inform us unfortunately. They just went one morning and we did not find any of them. And we searched everywhere, called their phones , all their phones were off”, recalls the country’s flag bearer to the games, Ola Buwaro.
The country’s athletics chief Dodou Capi Joof says the federation spent a lot of money to prepare the team and said the federation had no reason to worry about any member of the team being a flight risk.
““it is very sad because we are spending a lot of money to train them, to prepare them to represent this county. So if they just disappear like that, it is very sad”
Insiders within the team however blame the poor treatment of the athletes by the government, saying more athletes could follow suit in future if the situation does not improve.
But it is not only the Gambia whose athletes absconded from team camps. Cameroon, Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Kenya also reported missing athletes after the games. The Australian government says the athletes are not in breach of their visas, which are expected to expire in mid May.