Belarus runner claims that the Olympic team tried sending her home

Belarus's track sprinter claimed her Olympic team attempted to take her out of Japan. This led to a standoff at Tokyo's main international airport on Sunday night.

Belarus runner claims that the Olympic team tried sending her home

Belarus's track sprinter claimed her Olympic team attempted to take her out of Japan. This led to a standoff at Tokyo's main international airport on Sunday night.

TheEditor
TheEditor
01 August 2021 Sunday 15:12
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Belarus runner claims that the Olympic team tried sending her home

Krystsina TSimanouskaya was supported by an activist group. She said that she felt her life in Belarus was in danger and would seek asylum at the Tokyo Austrian Embassy.

Tsimanouskaya stated in a video message that she received on social media that she was under pressure from Belarus team officials. She asked for assistance from the International Olympic Committee.

The 24-year-old runner stated that he was under pressure and that they were trying to force me out of the country without my consent.

Tsimanouskaya will be running in the Olympic 200m heats on Monday. She claimed she was put in the 4x400 relay, despite not racing the event.

According to the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, the government supported the athlete. Tsimanouskaya reached out to the group to get help to prevent what she fears was a forced deportation from Minsk.

Alexander Opeikin, a spokesperson for the BSSF, stated that "the campaign was very serious" and that it was a clear sign that her life was in danger in Belarus.

Tsimanouskaya was summoned by Japanese police at Haneda Airport, but he did not board a flight to Istanbul. Opeikin stated that foreign ministry officials arrived at the airport later.

Tsimanouskaya stated in a statement that she was at a police station on Monday morning.

She said that she explained to a police officer the circumstances of my being taken from the Olympic Village. "Now, I'm in a safe place and I'm trying to figure out where I will sleep the night.

The IOC was involved in a dispute with the Belarus National Olympic Committee before the Tokyo Games. It claimed it had intervened.

"The IOC...is looking into the situation, and has asked for clarification from the NOC," the Olympics stated in a statement.

Since 1995, the Belarus National Olympic Committee has been headed by Viktor Lukashenko, a dictatorial state president, and Alexander Lukashenko's son Viktor.

The IOC has banned both Lukashenkos from the Tokyo Olympics. It investigated complaints by athletes that they were subject to intimidation and reprisals in the wake of protests following the country's controversial presidential election.

A spokesperson for the Belarus Olympic team didn't respond to a request of comment.

Opeikin stated that Tsimanouskaya was taken into a safe location and would request asylum from the Austrian Embassy.

Tsimanouskaya competed already for Belarus in Friday's first day of track events at Tokyo's National Stadium. Tsimanouskaya placed fourth in the 100m heat, with a time of 11.47 seconds. She did not advance.

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