London 2012: Seven Cameroon athletes go ‘missing’ from Olympics

Updated: Aug 08, 2012, 12:02 PM IST

London: Several athletes from Cameroon, west Central Africa, have fled the London 2012 Games sparking fears they may be in the process of claiming asylum, team officials have admitted.

The seven athletes, including the entire boxing team and half the swimming team, were reported missing earlier this week, which came as a major embarrassment to the African nation.

Authorities admitted that the five boxers, swimmer and a female football player were feared to have left in order to stay in Europe for ‘economic reasons’.

According to a leading daily, it is believed to be the biggest such defection of the Games, if it so unravels.

The missing athletes, however, are not yet breaking new British immigration rules introduced to bypass normal visa procedures, by which all Olympic athletes, and their families, could stay in the country until early November.

It is understood that none of the seven athletes have yet applied for asylum in Britain, the paper said. David Ojong, Cameroon’s head of mission to London 2012, confirmed officials’ fears that the group was absconding.