An African Olympic competitor has become the first; amongst no doubt many others, to claim political asylum in Britain. The man walked into a police station in Leeds last night and is now being held by the UK Borders Agency.
Warnings have already been issued by immigration officials who fear some 2% of athletes, team officials and supporters could claim refuge in the UK during and after the Games or even attempt to stay in the country after their visas expire.
The athlete is thought to have disappeared from a training camp in order to claim asylum as his team was getting ready to move to the athletes’ village in Stratford, East London.
He claimed he was a victim of persecution in his homeland and is to be quizzed before the weekend and it has also been revealed one East African team member said he believed another man was also preparing to claim asylum.
A police spokesman said: ‘We did detain a man, but we didn’t arrest him.
He was handed over to the UK Border Agency who are now dealing with it.’
The spokesman was unable to confirm the man’s nationality and could not clarify any further details on the asylum situation.
Immigration officials were said to be checking the man’s travel documents as well as his movements since entering the country and they are investigating whether he has relatives already living in the UK.
It seems a strange sort of persecution in his homeland when he made the Olympic team and no doubt he will be representing Great Britain at the 2016 games in Rio!