Officials are concerned that five more African athletes could not return home from the Commonwealth Games, after eight competitors from Cameroon were confirmed missing.
The Gold Coast organisers confirmed a total of 13 representatives from African countries could not be accounted for as at Sunday when the event ended.
Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive David Grevemberg revealed that athletes from Rwanda, Uganda and two squash players from Sierra Leone got missing toward the twilight of the event.
“We have a service to people who have legitimate visas to be in this country. The focus now is to support teams in trying to track down the athletes who are missing.
“More than 100 athletes overstayed their visas at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Athlete visas for the Commonwealth Games expire on May 15,” Grevemberg said.
With regards to the search for Cameroon’s five boxers and three weightlifters, Grevemberg insisted that their welfare of the athletes come first.
“We obviously have been in close contact with Cameroon officials. We share their concern regarding obviously the safety, welfare, whereabouts of these athletes,” he added.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has warned that athletes would be forcibly removed from the country if they attempted to overstay their visas.
“They aren’t going to game the system,” he told local radio. “Australian Border Force officers will find these people (and) they’ll be held in immigration detention until they can be deported.”
The officials of the host country could not mention any of Nigerian athletes was missing as at the end of the competition.
The Gold Coast games ended with Africa represented on the medals’ table with a total of 97 medals. While, South Africa finished in the 6th position with a total of 37 medals, Nigeria occupied 9th position with a total of 24 medals and Kenya in the 14th position with a total of 17 medals.
Other African countries on the medals table included Uganda with 6 medals, Botswana with 5 medals, Namibia with 2 medals, Cameroon with 3 medals, Mauritius, Seychelles and Ghana, each with 1 medal.