© Reuters. Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is escorted by cops at Haneda worldwide airport in Tokyo, Japan August 1, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato


By Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber

TOKYO (Reuters) -A Belarusian sprinter refused to get on a flight from Tokyo on Sunday after being taken to the airport towards her needs by her workforce following her complaints about nationwide teaching workers on the Olympic Video games.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, was nonetheless at Tokyo’s Haneda airport within the early hours of Monday.

The Worldwide Olympic Committee stated it had spoken to Tsimanouskaya and that she was being accompanied by a workers member of Tokyo 2020 on the airport.

“She has informed us she feels secure,” the IOC stated in a tweet.

It added the IOC and Tokyo 2020 would proceed their conversations with Tsimanouskaya and the authorities “to find out the following steps within the upcoming days”.

The incident on Sunday, first reported by Reuters, highlighted discord in Belarus, a former Soviet state that’s run with a good grip by President Alexander Lukashenko. In energy since 1994, he confronted a wave of protests final yr, which some athletes joined.

Tsimanouskaya stated teaching workers had come to her room on Sunday and informed her to pack. She stated she was taken to Haneda airport by representatives of the Belarusian Olympic workforce.

However she refused to board the flight and sought safety from the Japanese police as an alternative, telling Reuters in a message over Telegram: “I cannot return to Belarus.”

The Belarusian Olympic Committee stated in a press release that coaches had determined to withdraw Tsimanouskaya from the Video games on docs’ recommendation about her “emotional, psychological state”.

The committee didn’t instantly reply to a request for added remark.

Earlier, a Reuters photographer noticed the athlete standing subsequent to police on the airport. “I believe I’m secure,” Tsimanouskaya stated. “I’m with the police.”

In a video printed earlier on Telegram by the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Basis, Tsimanouskaya had requested the IOC to get entangled in her case.

A supply on the basis, which helps athletes jailed or sidelined for his or her political beliefs, stated Tsimanouskaya deliberate to request asylum in Germany or Austria on Monday.

The muse’s head, former Olympic swimmer Aliaksandra Herasimenia, informed Reuters that Tsimanouskaya is also receiving help from Poland.

“We appealed to various nations for assist,” stated Herasimenia, a three-time Olympic medallist. “However the first that reacted was the Polish consulate. We’re prepared to just accept their assist.”

Lukashenko’s son, Viktor Lukashenko, is president of the Belarus Olympic Committee.


Tsimanouskaya ran within the ladies’s 100 metres heats on Friday and was scheduled to run within the 200 metres heats on Monday, together with the 4×400 metres relay on Thursday.

She stated she had been faraway from the workforce due “to the truth that I spoke on my Instagram in regards to the negligence of our coaches”.

Tsimanouskaya had complained on Instagram that she was entered within the 4×400 m relay after some members of the workforce had been discovered to be ineligible to compete on the Olympics as a result of that they had not undergone a ample quantity of doping assessments.

“A few of our ladies didn’t fly right here to compete within the 4×400 m relay as a result of they did not have sufficient doping assessments,” Tsimanouskaya informed Reuters from the airport.

“And the coach added me to the relay with out my information. I spoke about this publicly. The pinnacle coach came visiting to me and stated there had been an order from above to take away me.”

Exiled Belarusian opposition chief Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya urged the IOC to take up the athlete’s case.

“She has a proper to worldwide safety & to proceed participation within the @Olympics,” Tsikhanouskaya tweeted. “Additionally it is essential to analyze Belarus’ NOC violations of athletes’ rights.”

Vitaliy Utkin, a member of the Belarusian parliament, criticised Tsimanouskaya’s behaviour.

“It’s betrayal and treachery, which was directed in direction of the Belarusian individuals and her fellow athletes,” state-owned broadcaster STV cited Utkin as saying.


President Lukashenko was confronted with mass avenue protests final yr over what his opponents known as rigged elections, and ordered a violent crackdown on protesters. The president denies the allegations of vote-rigging.

Unusually in a rustic the place elite athletes typically depend on authorities funding, some distinguished Belarusian athletes joined the protests. A number of had been jailed, together with Olympic basketball participant Yelena Leuchanka https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belarus-election-basketball-idUSKBN27D1QS and decathlete Andrei Krauchanka https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belarus-election-olympics-idUSKBN28614P.

Others misplaced their state employment or had been kicked off nationwide groups for supporting the opposition.

Through the Chilly Battle, scores of sports activities individuals and cultural figures defected from the Soviet Union and its satellite tv for pc states throughout abroad competitions or excursions. However the freedom of journey that got here with the autumn of the Soviet Union in 1991 noticed the necessity for such dramatic acts dwindle.

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