Some of the athletes from Cameroon in Africa have gone missing from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, presumably to avoid going back to Cameroon, which is in the midst of a civil war.
It is not uncommon for athletes to endure years of preparation for the chance to escape countries with poor living conditions of one sort or another.
Australia, the United States and most of the European countries, particularly England, France, Spain and Italy, are favoured destinations for asylum seekers.
Visitors to Australia are free to travel around the country freely and the size of Australia makes it easy to disappear.
So far as Cameroon is concerned, three boxers and three weightlifters have not been seen since Tuesday and the suspicion is that they have designs on not returning to Cameroon.
A team official from Cameroon told news.com.au that one third of the 24 athletes the Central Africa country sent to Gold Coast are not to be found, did not show up for their events and are presumed to have fled to avoid returning.
Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive David Grevemberg expressed disappointment that the athletes did not appear for their scheduled events.
The Australian government is officially telling Australian citizens who wish to visit Cameroon to use a “high degree of caution and to avoid the northern region of the country, particularly where it come close to the Nigerian border.
He said, “But these athletes are guests here in Australia, they are still within their visas and they have the right to travel freely. Right now we are worried about safety and welfare of the athletes and we are taking this very seriously and monitoring the situation with team Cameroon.”
We do not claim to know about the situation in Cameroon, but by most accounts, we would rather take our chances outback, or just about any place other than Cameroon.
When the Commonwealth Games were held in Melbourne in 2006, 45 athletes from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ghana overstayed their visas or applied for protection visas after the CGs concluded.
Following the Sydney Olympics in 2000, over 100 tried to stay beyond the expiration of their visas and 30 applied for asylum.