Boxers Thomas Essomba (above), Christian Donfack Adjoufack, Abdon Mewoli, Blaise Yepmou Mendouo and Serge Ambomowere; women’s football player Drusille Ngako; and swimmer Paul Ekane Edingue all vanished during the Games.

At a meeting with reporters in a secret location, the boxers claimed they want to stay in the UK because their home country offered them no support.

They also say Cameroon Olympic officials had treated them badly and the amount they were promised in bonuses had been halved.

Mendouo told the BBC officials had also asked them to hand over their passports after their fights and then tried to send the boxing squad home before the Games ended.

“We want to become professional,” he told the BBC. “We cannot return to Cameroon… if we return, we will not practise anymore.”

However, head of the Cameroon delegation to the Olympics, David Ojong, refuted the allegations and said that the seven sportspeople had left to stay in Europe for economic reasons.

None of the athletes are believed to have applied for asylum.

Olympic athletes have permission to remain in Britain until early November under the accreditation rules used instead of normal visa procedures.