Belarus sprinter Krystina Timanovskaya flies out of Japan

Belarus sprinter Krystina Timanovskaya flies out of Japan
Timanovskaya boarded a flight to Vienna. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: Belarusian athlete Krystina Timanovskaya, who refused orders to fly home early from the Tokyo Olympics, has left Japan.

The 24-year-old old athlete boarded a flight to Vienna on Wednesday morning.

She had been expected to travel directly to Poland’s capital as the Polish government has granted her a humanitarian visa, but changed destination at the last minute, an airport official told reporters.

She told that her actions were not a political protest: “I love my country and I didn’t betray my country. This is about the mistakes that have been made by our officials at the Olympics.”

The athlete voiced fears for her safety after she was forced to pack her baggage and forcibly taken to Tokyo’s Haneda airport last week, after criticising her coaches.

Krystina Timanovskaya was given police protection before being moved to the Polish embassy in Tokyo, where she stayed until travelling to Narita airport on Wednesday.

Belarusian authorities have said that she was removed from the national team because of her emotional state.

But Ms Timanovskaya said she didn’t suffer from any mental health issues and didn’t have any conversations with doctors at the Olympic village.

She said she was surprised when her country’s Olympics officials told her she was leaving the Games because she “didn’t say anything political”, adding that she would like to return to Belarus “when I know that it’s safe… maybe I’ll only be able to return after five or 10 years”.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched a formal investigation into allegations that Belarus attempted to force Ms Timanovskaya to return home.

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