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Friday, September 17, 2021

Belarusian Olympic sprinter seeks refuge in Polish embassy

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Tokyo Olympics updates

A Belarusian sprinter on the Tokyo Olympics has taken refuge in Poland’s embassy in Japan after alleging she had been taken to the airport in opposition to her will having criticised her nation’s coaches.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who earlier stated on social media that she had been entered into the 4×400 relay regardless that she has by no means raced the occasion, has utilized for and been granted a humanitarian visa, Polish officers stated.

“In keeping with her phrases, she’s planning to return to Poland, and was invited by us,” Marcin Przydacz, Poland’s deputy international minister instructed the Monetary Instances.

Tsimanouskaya, who was because of compete within the heats for the ladies’s 200m occasion on Monday, had stayed at a lodge in Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Sunday after seeking “protection” from native authorities.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus’s brutal chief, has been roundly criticised after he fraudulently claimed victory in final 12 months’s presidential election and launched into a marketing campaign to suppress protesters and supporters of his rival.

The IOC banned Lukashenko from attending the Tokyo Video games together with different nationwide officers, together with his son Viktor, president of the nation’s Olympic committee.

The sanctions had been imposed after Belarusian athletes accused authorities of political discrimination and imprisonment. The IOC has additionally frozen funds to the Belarus Olympic Committee aside from these paid on to athletes.

Though Tsimanouskaya has circuitously criticised Lukashenko, Belarusian media have castigated the 24 12 months outdated athlete.

“This scandal didn’t begin out as a political one however has turn into one as a result of extraordinarily heavy-handed response to her statements which have included vicious assaults on her fame by Belarusian state media after which the try and power her to fly residence from Tokyo,” Eleanor Bindman, an japanese European politics skilled at Manchester Metropolitan College, stated.

The incident “displays Lukashenko’s paranoia about something or anybody that might be seen as vital of his beleaguered regime”, she added.

Tsimanouskaya had beforehand stated she was afraid of being arrested if she returned to Belarus and that she feared for her household again residence. 
Her husband Arseny Zdanevich has since reportedly left Belarus for Ukraine.

“The place did I go? Kiev, however I cannot give particulars,” he told Sport Specific, a Russian sports activities portal. 

Tsimanouskaya was individually supplied a visa by the Czech Republic, which, like Poland, has been among the many most outspoken critics of Lukashenko. Jakub Kulhanek, Czech international minister, earlier stated Tsimanouskaya’s scenario was “scandalous”.

Tsimanouskaya had used her social media accounts to criticise coaches who she stated registered her for occasions for which she had not educated as different Belarusian athletes had not accomplished sufficient anti-doping assessments to compete.

Katsunobu Kato, a Japanese authorities spokesperson, stated Tokyo was working with the IOC and different native authorities to find out the athlete’s intentions. The IOC stated it had requested a report from the Belarus Olympic Committee earlier than deciding whether or not to take additional motion.

The Japanese police didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Belarus’s opposition chief, instructed the Monetary Instances that “what occurred to Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is a part of the broader crackdown in opposition to athletes in Belarus. At this time, any criticism of authorities — even sports activities management — is taken into account an assault on the federal government.”

The IOC stated it was nonetheless working to find out how Tsimanouskaya left the athletes’ village. It stated the sprinter appeared to have travelled to the airport with a gaggle of about 16 Belarusian athletes set to depart Japan after their occasions ended.

The IOC stated it was unclear if different Belarusian officers or coaches had accompanied her to the airport.

Photographs and video circulated on social media websites by Belarusian opposition activists appeared to point out Tsimanouskaya refusing to board a aircraft.

The Belarus Olympic Committee didn’t reply to a request for remark however a press release attributed to the organisation instructed that Tsimanouskaya had been faraway from competitors by coaches on the recommendation of medical doctors about her “emotional, psychological state”.

In response, Tsimanouskaya posted that assertion on Instagram with the message: “This can be a lie.”

“I’m asking the Worldwide Olympic Committee for assist, they [Belarusian officials] are placing stress on me and they’re attempting to take me in a foreign country with out my consent,” Tsimanouskaya stated in a video message reportedly recorded on Sunday night from the airport.

Extra reporting by Katrina Manson in Washington

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