Seven athletes who represented the Olympic team from the African nation of Cameroon have fled the London games, reportedly to seek asylum in Great Britain.
Team officials suggested that the seven, comprising five boxers, a swimmer and a footballer, have “defected.”
What began as rumor has finally turned out to be true, David Ojong, the head of the Cameroon mission said. Seven Cameroonian athletes … have disappeared from the Olympic Village.
Under a special clause in UK laws, Olympians and their families will be allowed to reside in Britain until early November.
Nonetheless, the athletes’ behavior has caused embarrassment in their native country.
The conditions in Cameroon are very difficult -- there are no opportunities here, and if you have the chance to go the UK, it's understandable that you would want to stay there, Henri Tchounga, a tour guide in Yaounde, told the Guardian newspaper.
But my fear is that now Cameroonians will have a bad reputation, and in the future we will not be able to get visas. It's good for them but a serious problem for the rest of us.
The bottom line is to look at the economic conditions in Cameroon and see how hard the system is for many people, especially the athletes who don't receive any support from the government, Cameroonian economist Flaubert Mbiekop commented. London presented an opportunity; I'm not at all surprised that they took it.
In the past, several Cameroonian athletes left their teams during games in foreign countries, including France and the UK.
According to the CIA World Factbook, about one-half of Cameroon’s population lives in poverty, the government is awash in corruption, and the country has one of the worst business climates in the world.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.