With over two months since several athletes disappeared at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, Kenyan boxer Brian Agina’s whereabouts is still unknown.
Boxing Association of Kenya (BAK) president John Kameta said they are yet to receive any communication from the boxer or anyone else who may have knowledge of the situation.
“We are still in the dark and don’t know of his whereabouts but have been eager to get any information,” said Kameta.
Agina was reportedly missing after the curtains fell on the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia. He lost to Pakistan’s Syed Muhammad Asif in the round of 16 of his boxing competition.
The first to be reported missing were eight teammates from the Cameroonian delegation. Nevertheless, the estimated number is now between 20 and 100. Reports say the number includes athletes, coaches and team officials from several African countries.
Since their entry visas expired in May, Australia has threatened to deport them. However, the athletes are permitted to stay in Australia if they seek asylum.
Sources in Kenyan boxing circles, however, claim that Agina, a production of Coast boxing, is seeking greener pastures in Australia. Under the international law, individuals have a right to seek asylum in another country if they fear persecution at home.
Refugee lawyers in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra have told the media they have been in contact with several missing athletes, who have requested help with visa applications.
One migration lawyer in Canberra told Fairfax Media she was lodging asylum claims for five athletes. Immigration authorities say they have set up a ‘dedicated operation’ to find those who haven’t reached out. One sleuthing tactic they might like to use is social media.
Cameroonian boxer Fotsala Simplice posted tourist snaps of himself in Melbourne on Facebook last month after he was reported missing (but while he still had a valid visa)..
Agina is not the only Kenyan boxer to have gone missing in Australia over the years.
Two Kenyan boxers disappeared in Sydney 2000 immediately after the Olympics. Peter Kariuki and light welterweight Fred Munga – failed to board their plane back to Nairobi and went underground.
Other members of the team, arriving back in Nairobi, then said they had been offered jobs in Sydney and had also been signed up by some boxing clubs.
Kariuki later turned professional and secured Australian citizenship. He last fought in May 2016 against Australia opponent Ten Singh and settled for a draw. Kariuki’s record now stands at 26-11-3 (20 KOs).