Eugene, Ore. – It appears five men, from Eritrea, that took part in the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 in Eugene, Oregon are now listed as missing with the Oregon State Police. All five were reported missing on the same day, from Lane County. July 24th. 2022. The last day of Oregon22.
UPDATE: 7/28/22 3:30pm from the UO Police Department “The five missing individuals have been located and are not in danger, according to the Eritrean National Athletics Federation, which initially reported the individuals missing. The federation said the athletes are resuming activities with the team.”
BREAKING UPDATE: 7/28/22 12:00 pm Habtom Samuel appears to not be one of the missing teammates. He appears to be using Facebook, and headed to Cali, Columbia for CALI22. We have verified this.
Eritrea is under intense political upheaval, and athletes seeking asylum from unstable areas have historically used athletic tournaments, like the World Athletic Championships Oregon22, to leave their country. Possibly that is the case here.
Four of these missing men are athletes from the Eritrea National Team. The other may be a coach, or otherwise attached to the team.
We have reached out to the Eugene Police Department, and the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. They had no information on these men at that time.
We reached out to the University of Oregon Police, they verified that they are the agency that took the report of the five missing men from Eritrea. It appears there was no foul play involved. It appears the 5 subjects left voluntarily of their own volition. They may have left with family or friends. There was no other information available from them, at this time.
If you have any information about these five men or their whereabouts please contact UOPD at (541) 346-2919 or the department’s anonymous tip line at (541) 525-8178.
This is a developing news story. We will update when we find more information on this.
While this very well may have been a defection to the US to seek asylum, we have no information to verify that at this time.
(Information from the Oregon State Police Missing Persons List, UO Police Department, and MileSplit USA. Cover photo by: Susan Keggan)