TIL that in 2004, a fake ‘Sri Lankan national handball team’ tricked its way into a German tournament, lost all of their matches, and then mysteriously disappeared. A farewell letter thanked the Bavarians for their hospitality.

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

Athletes overstaying their visas and immigrating illegally is pretty common, especially for niche sports.


I think my favourite defection story was during the Pan Am games in Toronto. The Cuban rowing team had competed in the afternoon. And at night they took their boat and rowed to the USA which was right across the lake they were competing on.


The alleged handball team is now believed to be living covertly in Italy, home to several thousand Sri Lankan refugees who have built a tight community network in recent years. One of the players, according to the Asian- German Sports Exchange Program group that organized the tournament in Bavaria, has already conveyed to his family in Sri Lanka that he is in Italy and will soon have a job.


Or so the Germans would have us believe.


Enters German tournament Loses all matches Refuses to elaborate Disappears