Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Olympics-Belarus athlete will fly to Poland after refusing orders to go home

WorldAug 02, 2021 08:51PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is escorted by police officers at Haneda international airport in Tokyo, Japan August 1, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato 2/2

By Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Antoni Slodkowski

TOKYO (Reuters) -A Belarusian athlete who took refuge in the Polish embassy in Tokyo after refusing her team's orders to fly home from the Olympic Games will travel to Poland on Wednesday, a group of her supporters said.

Sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was granted a humanitarian visa by the Warsaw government. She had earlier refused to get on a flight home, saying she had been taken to the airport against her will by Belarusian officials because she had criticised her team's coaching staff.

"She will fly from Tokyo, a direct flight to Warsaw on August 4, in two days' time," said Aleksandr Opeykin, chairman of the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation.

"She has accepted the offer issued by the Polish Foreign Ministry to request international help, she has done that and she has received a Polish visa today. We, at the Foundation, helped her to get the ticket to Warsaw," Opeykin told Reuters.

A source at the foundation, which supports athletes jailed or sidelined for their political views, said Tsimanouskaya planned to request asylum in Germany or Austria on Monday.

"She is a young sportswoman, a successful one and obviously she would want to continue her career so she will need help to train and develop," Opeykin said.

The athlete arrived at the Polish embassy in Tokyo on Monday.

Polish deputy foreign minister Pawel Jablonski said: "I can confirm that we have issued a humanitarian visa. I can confirm that we will provide all necessary support in Poland if she wishes to use it."

Tsimanouskaya, 24, had been due to compete in the women's 200 metre heats on Monday but said that on Sunday she was taken to the airport to board a Turkish Airlines flight.

She refused, telling Reuters: "I will not return to Belarus."

The European Union welcomed Poland's decision to grant a visa and said the repatriation attempt was further evidence of "brutal repression" by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter the Lukashenko government's "actions violate the Olympic spirit, are an affront to basic rights, and cannot be tolerated."

The incident has focussed attention on Belarus, where police have cracked down on dissent following a wave of protests triggered by an election last year which the opposition says was rigged to keep Lukashenko in power.

The athlete arrived at the Polish embassy in an unmarked silver van about 5 p.m. local time (0800 GMT). She stepped out with her official team luggage, and greeted two officials before going inside.

Two women, one carrying the red and white flag seen as the symbol of opposition in Belarus, came to the gates to support her.

POLICE PROTECTION

Her husband, Arseni Zhdanevich, will join her in Poland, a Warsaw-based Belarusian opposition politician said.

The politician, Pavel Latushko, said Belarus officials had told Tsimanouskaya's mother that her daughter was a spy for Western governments.

He told Reuters Tsimanouskaya had told him via text message that someone from Lukashenko's office had approached her mother and asked her to persuade the athlete to come home.

Tsimanouskaya told a Reuters reporter via Telegram that the Belarusian head coach had turned up at her room on Sunday at the athletes' village and told her she had to leave.

"The head coach came over to me and said there had been an order from above to remove me," she wrote in the message. "At 5 (pm) they came my room and told me to pack and they took me to the airport."

But she refused to board and sought the protection of Japanese police.

Tsimanouskaya said she had been removed from the team as she had spoken out about what she described as the negligence of their coaches.

She had complained on Instagram that she was entered in the 4x400 m relay after some team members were found to be ineligible to compete at the Olympics because they had not undergone sufficient doping tests.

"And the coach added me to the relay without my knowledge," Tsimanouskaya said.

The Belarusian Olympic Committee said coaches had decided to withdraw Tsimanouskaya from the Games on doctors' advice about her "emotional, psychological state".

Belarus athletics head coach Yuri Moisevich told state television he "could see there was something wrong with her ... She either secluded herself or didn't want to talk".

A spokesperson for the IOC said it had taken a number of actions against the Belarus Olympic Committee following nationwide protests in the country.

In March, the IOC refused to recognise https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/olympics-ioc-does-not-recognise-lukashenko-sons-belarus-olympic-vote-2021-03-08 the election of Lukashenko's son Viktor as head of the country's Olympic Committee. Both father and son were banned from attending the Games in December.

Olympics-Belarus athlete will fly to Poland after refusing orders to go home
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email