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Sierra Leone cyclist cleared of Ebola at Glasgow

Seychelles Edward Pothin makes his way towards the finish line in the cycling men's time trial event during the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, Thursday July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

GLASGOW: Reacting to sensationalistic headlines such as "Ebola Terror at Commonwealth Games" in an English newspaper, officials said Friday that a Sierra Leone cyclist passed tests for the Ebola virus and competed.

"There is no Ebola in the athletes' village," a games statement said. "We can confirm an athlete was tested for a number of things when he fell ill last week, including Ebola. The tests were negative and the athlete competed in his event Thursday.

"We are dismayed by some of the sensational and misleading headlines to date and request that these are not repeated."

Mike Hooper, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, added, "The headlines and the reports were not only sensationalist, but irresponsible."

Later, games officials said they had not been told of another Sierra Leone athlete who may have gone missing from the athletes' village, identified as cyclist Mohamed Tholley, who pulled out of the time trial on Thursday and was scheduled to compete in the road race on Saturday.

The athlete tested for Ebola was road cyclist Moses Sesay, 32. He was admitted to a Glasgow hospital last week after feeling unwell, and doctors tested him for various conditions, including Ebola, which is blamed for more than 700 deaths in an outbreak in three west African countries, including Sierra Leone.

Sesay was passed fit, and released from hospital in time to compete in the individual time trial on Thursday, when he finished 56th and last of those who completed the race.

"I was admitted for four days and they tested me for Ebola. It came back negative but they did it again, and this time sent it to London, where it was also negative," Sesay was quoted as saying.

Games spokesman Jackie Brock-Doyle said if athletes become ill, they are tested for whatever ailments they are suffering from "and that was the case with the athlete that has been widely reported about over the last 24 hours. It is not a whole Ebola testing regime in place."

Local media reported that the 25-year-old Tholley's room key was found in his hotel room, and Sierra Leone team management believe he may have left because of fears over Ebola.

"Unfortunately, one of our athletes has not turned up for his event and we do not know where he is. It is possible he is not coming back," the Daily Telegraph quoted Unisa Deen Kargbo, chef de mission of the Sierra Leone team, as saying . "The situation is very serious at home, and it is possible this is why he does not want to return."

Glasgow police told The Associated Press that they have not been made aware of any missing athletes from the Commonwealth Games.

Brock-Doyle said games officials had not been informed of any missing athletes by team managers.

"Most athletes, remember, are on a two- to three-month visa and lots of them might go have a look around Scotland or the U.K. after they have competed," she said.

On Thursday, Seychelles forfeited an African Cup qualifying game and withdrew from the competition rather than allow Sierra Leone's squad to travel to the Indian Ocean island because of fears over the spread of Ebola.

 

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