Three from Sri Lanka team go missing at Commonwealth Games


BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — The Sri Lankan team has asked its athletes and officials at the Commonwealth Games to turn in their passports after three members went missing.

The nation, which is facing a huge economic crisis, confirmed late Wednesday that a wrestler, a judoka, and a judo coach have disappeared from one of the villages housing athletes and officials.

Sri Lankan team spokesperson Gobinath Sivarajah told The Telegraph in India that Birmingham police are investigating the absence of the three members.

“We have asked all athletes and officials to submit their passports to our respective venue officials in all the villages after the incident,” he said. “The police are investigating and the three cannot cross the UK borders. What has happened is really unfortunate.”

At the last Games on the Australian Gold Coast in 2018, almost one-third of the Cameroon team went missing after the event. Rwanda’s weightlifting coach also fled during a toilet break at the host stadium.

It was reported at least 230 athletes and officials lodged applications for protection visas in Australia after the event, but the majority were denied.

Sri Lanka, which picked a 161-strong contingent for the 2022 games, has claimed one bronze medal to date in Birmingham.

On the track, Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah added a Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 100 meters to her resume, winning in 10.95 seconds. The Jamaican defeated Julien Alfred of St. Lucia, with Daryll Neita of England taking the bronze medal.

Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala claimed the men’s 100 meters in a time of 10.02 seconds. Akani Simbine of South Africa finished second, with Yupun Abeykoon of Sri Lanka claiming the bronze medal.

Scotland’s Eilish McColgan drew great support from the crowd at Alexander Stadium when setting a new Games’ record of 30:48.60 in the women’s 10,000-meter race. Her mother Liz Nuttall won gold medals in the event in the 1986 and 1990 editions in Edinburgh and Auckland.

Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus concluded a superb individual meet when edging emerging Canadian star Summer McIntosh in a thrilling 400-meter freestyle.

Titmus, who defeated American champion Katie Ledecky in the event at the Tokyo Olympics, was pushed to the wire by the 15-year-old McIntosh.

McIntosh announced herself a star of the future at the world championships in Budapest in June and had won the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medleys at this event.

A night after winning the 800-meter freestyle, Titmus recorded a time of 3:58.06 to edge McIntosh by just over one second. The Australian also won the 200-meter freestyle.

World champion Ben Proud claimed his third straight Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle and was delighted to succeed in front of a home crowd in 21.36 seconds.

The 27-year-old Proud defeated fellow Englishman Lewis Burras by .32 seconds, with Canadian Joshua Edwards third.

“For me, that is a really big achievement. To be able to say I have been here for eight years … is really special for me,” he said.

Sam Short’s sensational swim to claim the 1500-meter freestyle continued Australia’s rich tradition in the endurance race.

The 18-year-old Short won a thrilling contest in 14:48.54, just over three seconds in front of Daniel Wiffen from Northern Ireland, with England’s Luke Turley third.

Earlier Wednesday, India’s women’s field hockey team progressed to the medal rounds after edging Canada 3-2. The win puts India into a semifinal against Australia on Friday.

Weightlifter Junior Periclex Ngadja Nyabeyeu was in tears after claiming Cameroon’s first gold medal of these games in the men’s 109-kilogram division with a tally of 361 kilos (796 lbs).

“It’s big, very big for me, for my family. I was crying because it was too much for me, too much to take in,” he said.

New Zealand’s Sam Gaze managed to defend the gold medal he won on Australia’s Gold Coast in mountain biking in 2018 with a convincing victory at Cannock Chase Forest.


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