Tokyo Olympics: Belarusian sprinter Krystina Tsimanouskaya is protected at airport hotel after refusing to return to Minsk | World news


Belarusian sprinter who refused to take a flight from Tokyo after saying she was taken to an airport against her will was “safe and secure” and looked after, the committee said international olympic.

Krystina Tsimanouskaya, 24, spent the night in an airport hotel after seeking protection from Japanese police at Haneda Airport on Sunday evening.

The Olympian said she was arrested by officials in her own country on Sunday after publicly complaining about national coaches.

Mark Adams, spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee, said Tsimanouskaya was discussing with Games officials what to do next.

Belarusian Krystina Tsimanouskaya slammed team officials on her Instagram account

He said: “She assured us and assured us that she felt safe. She spent the night in an airport hotel in a safe and secure environment.

“The IOC and Tokyo 2020 will continue their conversations with her and the Japanese authorities to determine the next step in the coming days.”

Tsimanouskaya said in a video message posted on social media that she had been pressured by Belarusian team officials and therefore sought help from the International Olympic Committee.

“I have been put under pressure and they are trying to force me out of the country without my consent,” she said.

Tsimanouskaya was scheduled to compete in the women’s 200-meter and 4×400-meter relay in the Tokyo Olympics this week.

But she criticized team officials on her Instagram account, saying she was put on the baton when she had never been to the event before.

She also claimed that some members of her team had been deemed ineligible for the competition because they had not undergone sufficient doping tests.

Coaching staff went to Tsimanouskaya’s room and told her to pack in response to what she said, she said.

Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya says she was taken to Tokyo airport against her will
Belarusian athlete Krystina Tsimanouskaya says she was taken to Tokyo airport against her will

When she arrived at the airport, she summoned the Japanese police and refused to board the flight to Minsk via Istanbul.

A group of activists supporting her said she feared for her life in Belarus and was considering seeking asylum at the Austrian embassy.

“The campaign was serious enough and it was a clear signal that his life would be in danger in Belarus,” Alexander Opeikin, spokesperson for the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation, told The Associated Press in an interview.

On Monday, French European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune said it would be an “honor” if Europe granted political asylum to Tsimanouskaya.

“Political asylum – it would be an honor for Europe to do so,” Mr Beaune told RFI radio.

Poland offered her a humanitarian visa, with Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz saying she is “free to pursue her sporting career in Poland if she wishes”.

Who is Krystina Tsimanouskaya?

Krystina Tsimanouskaya is a Belarusian sprinter competing in her first Olympics.

The 24-year-old has already participated in nine international competitions, finishing second in the 100m at the European Under-23 Championships held in Poland in 2017 and winning gold for her performance in the 200m at the Summer Universiade. 2019 in Italy.

She finished fourth in the women’s 100m on July 30 and was scheduled to compete in the 200m race on Monday August 2.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the Belarusian Olympic Committee said Tsimanouskaya had been excluded from the Games due to her “emotional and psychological state”.

He said: “According to doctors, due to the emotional and psychological state of Belarusian athlete Krystina Tsimanouskaya, the coaching staff of the national athletics team decided to stop the performance of the athlete. at the XXXII Olympic Games.

“As a result, the athlete’s request to participate in the qualifying races in the 200m and the 4x400m relay was recalled.”

Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is surrounded by police officers at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo, Japan
Tsimanouskaya refused to board his flight and instead requested police protection

Japanese government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told reporters that Japan was cooperating with other organizations “to take appropriate action” regarding Tsimanouskaya’s case and confirmed that she was safe.

IOC clashes with Belarusian National Olympic Committee, led by country’s authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko and his son Viktor.

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Both were banned from the Tokyo Games after the IOC received complaints from athletes of intimidation and retaliation following protests that began last August after the country’s disputed presidential election.

During the protests, the international community and the locals themselves were, as Sky correspondent Diana Magnay wrote, “surprised by the brutality of the police and prison guards inflicted on so many of the 7,000 detainees in the days following the disputed election results “.

In May, Belarusian journalist Roman Protaevich was arrested after his Ryanair flight was forced to land in Minsk, prompting international condemnation and sanction.


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