Tokyo Olympics: An athlete ordered to return to Belarus after complaining about coaches
Olympic athlete from Belarus She said she was ordered to go home after she publicly criticized her coaches on social media.
Kristina Tsimanskaya said she was taken to the airport before she could compete in the 200m on Monday and the 4x400m relay on Thursday. She was able to compete in the first round of the 100m but did not qualify for the next race.
Reuters news agency reported that it refused to board a plane back home and sought help from Japanese police at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
“I will not go back to Belarus,” the 24-year-old told Reuters via Telegram.
The alleged incident occurred after Tsimanoskaya used her Instagram account to document what she described as the “negligence of our coaches”.
The sprinter had previously complained about her entry into the relay event after other members of the Belarus team were deemed ineligible to compete because they had not undergone enough drug tests.
“Some of our girls didn’t fly here to compete in the 4x400m relay because they didn’t have enough doping tests,” she said.
“And the coach added me to the relay without my knowledge. I spoke about this publicly. The coach came up to me and said there was an order from above to remove me.”
Officials from the Belarus team reportedly arrived in her room on Sunday and instructed her to pack her bags before taking her to the airport.
Pictures taken at the airport showed her talking to the police. Journalist Tadeusz Ceksan posted on Twitter that she had not registered the arrival of her flight on Sunday with Turkish Airlines.
A source at the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation, which supports the athletes targeted for their political views, told Reuters that Tsimanoskaya plans to seek asylum in Germany or Austria on Monday.
Alexander Obikin, a spokesman for the activist group, said it had been “relocated to a safe place now” and would be in contact with European diplomats.
A videotaped of herself showed her pleading for help from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
A spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee said independent The organization had “viewed the reports in the media, is studying the situation and asked the National Oil Corporation [Belarus National Olympic Committee] to clarify.”
The Belarusian Olympic Committee said in a statement that the coaches had decided to withdraw Tsimanoskaya from the Games on the advice of doctors regarding her “emotional and psychological state”.
independent I contacted the Belarus Olympic Committee for further comments.
Tokyo police declined a request for comment when contacted by Reuters.
Belarus has seen protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, who has led the country since 1994 but faced mass demonstrations last year over what his opponents called a rigged election, and ordered a violent crackdown.
The autocratic leader and his son Victor run the Belarus Olympic Committee.