BIRMINGHAM, England—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 experiencing a major economic crisis, confirmed late Wednesday that a wrestler, a judoka and a judo coach have disappeared from one of the Commonwealth Games 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 2018 Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, 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, had a silver and two bronze medals—including Yupun Abeykoon’s third place finish in the men’s 100-meter final on Wednesday—after six days of competition.
Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah added a Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 100 meters to her resume. She won the women’s final in 10.95 seconds, holding off Julien Alfred of St. Lucia and Daryll Neita of England, to claim Jamaica’s first gold medal of the meet.
“I’m grateful. I’m happy to get my first title,” said Thompson-Herah, who won the 100-200 double at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics but hadn’t previously won an individual medal at the Commonwealth level. “I came fourth in the 200 four years ago, and so to move up to a gold, I’m super excited.”
Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala won the men’s 100 title in 10.02 seconds, with 2018 champion Akani Simbine of South Africa getting silver and Abeykoon getting bronze.
Former world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson won the heptathlon for England, returning to the top of the podium at a major international meet for the first time in three years.
And 31-year-old Eilish McColgan of Scotland drew great support from the crowd at Alexander Stadium when setting a new meet record of 30 minutes, 48.60 seconds in the women’s 10,000. Her mother Liz Nuttall won gold medals in the event in the 1986 and 1990 editions of the Games.
Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus concluded a superb individual meet when edging emerging Canadian star Summer McIntosh in a thrilling 400-meter freestyle.
Titmus, who beat US star Katie Ledecky in the event at the Tokyo Olympics, completed a set of golds in the 200, 400 and 800.
The 15-year-old McIntosh announced herself a star of the future at the world championships in Budapest in June and had won the 200 and 400 individual medleys at Birmingham.
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.
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 in 14:48.54, three seconds clear of Northern Ireland’s Daniel Wiffen.
Field hockey is moving into the medal rounds, with India edging Canada 3-2 to set up a women’s semifinal against Australia.
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.
The weightlifting venue was also the scene for Pakistan’s first gold medal in Birmingham, with Muhammad Nooh Dastgir Butt setting Commonwealth Games records to win the over 109-kilogram category.
A full games cycle was completed when New Zealand’s Sam Gaze defended the gold medal he won in 2018 in mountain biking with a convincing victory at Cannock Chase Forest.
Australia led the medal standings after six days of competition with 46 gold and 123 overall, but host England was closing the gap with 38 gold and 103 in total. Canada moved into third place with 16 gold medals and 57 in total, with New Zealand slipping to third place with 16 gold and 36 overall.
Scotland moved into fifth place ahead of South Africa with its seventh gold medal, and India was in seventh place with five gold medals and 18 overall.
Image credits: AP