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Saturday, 4 November, 2000, 02:30 GMT
Olympic members seek asylum
A total of 145 people did not leave Sydney after the closing ceremony
A total of 35 people have applied for asylum after Sydney
A total of 145 Olympic members have outstayed their Sydney Games visas - with 35 applying for political asylum.

Of the 145 identified, 62 were said to be missing.

Among those who refused to go home and are seeking asylum are Gabonese boxer Stephane Nzue Mba and Tunisian Greco-Roman wrestler Hassane Fkiri.

Four Georgian athletes, including weightlifters Valery Sarava and Mukhran Gogiya, have indicated they too want to stay.

Two Russians and several other athletes from former Eastern European states are also on the list but none from Cuba, the visitors authorities thought most likely to defect.


As of November 3, 145 Olympic family members remain in Australia unlawfully
  Philip Ruddock
Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock said 20% of applications for refugee status had already been assessed and rejected.

"As of November 3, 145 Olympic family members remain in Australia unlawfully," The Australian newspaper quoted him as saying.

"We will treat these overstayers in the same way that we treat any overstayers. Sixty-two are of particular interest to us."

The Olympic visas expired on 31 October.

Defected

Leading the list of overstayers, many of whom have not been detected but are thought unlikely to apply for asylum, are 28 Americans.

They are joined by 14 from Britain, two from Japan, five from Germany and 13 from Canada.

These include Olympic competitors, officials and journalists.

Immigration officials have said the number who have applied for asylum is smaller than predicted.

Some 200 people tried to defect in Atlanta four years ago.

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15 Aug 00 |  Olympics2000
Cubans warned to stay loyal
03 Nov 00 |  Other Sports
Wrestler Leipold given ban
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