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50 Commonwealth Games athletes remain in Australia ‘illegally’

50 Commonwealth Games athletes remain in Australia ‘illegally’
May 22, 2018

The Australian Senate has been told that around 50 competitors have remained in the country illegally after going missing during this year's Commonwealth Games.

Federal Department of Home Affairs Malisa Golightly yesterday also told a Senate committee that nearly 200 other Games athletes hold bridging visas and are applying for refugee status.

The Department had previously warned it will deport those who stay in the country illegally, after dozens of competitors - including many from Africa - disappeared from the competition.

The numbers are a dramatic increase on other international sporting events.

Golightly told the committee that the Australian Government had "had no contact" with the missing athletes, but added "we know they haven't left."

She said that around 190 of the 205 athletes and officials in the country legally are seeking protection visas. The remaining number are applying for business or other visas.

There has been considerable media speculation that anywhere between 20 and 100 athletes had absconded during the Gold Coast Games, which ended on 15th April.

They included eight members of Cameroon's delegation, as well as participants from Uganda, Sierra Leone and Rwanda.

Other athletes have disappeared during major international sporting events, although not on this scale.

During the London 2012 Olympics, 21 athletes and coaches vanished and many have still not been found. More than 80 also filed for asylum in the same period.

When Australia last held the Commonwealth Games, in 2006, more than 40 athletes and officials overstayed or sought asylum. 

Image: The opening ceremony at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

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