Belarusian olympian refuses ‘forced’ flight home

Belarusian olympian refuses 'forced' flight home
The athlete sought police protection at the airport terminal. Source: Reuters
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya voiced fears for her safety as she refused an order to fly home early from the Tokyo Olympics for criticising her coaches.

The sprinter says she was forced to pack before being taken to the airport in Tokyo against her will.

She sought police protection at the terminal so she would not have to board the flight.

“I think I am safe. I am with the police,” the 24-year-old was heard saying, as she was pictured surrounded by police officers.

The sprinter was due to compete in the women’s 200m event on Monday but had complained on social media about being entered into another race at short notice.

The sprinter says she was “put under pressure” by team officials to return Belarus and asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for help.

in a video posted on the Telegram channel of the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF), Tsimanouskaya was heard saying: “They are trying to get me out of the country without my permission.” BSSF is a group that supports athletes jailed or sidelined for their political views.

The International Olympic Committee said it was seeking clarification from Belarussian officials.

The Belarusian officials earlier said the athlete was taken off the team because of her “emotional and psychological condition”.

The IOC said it had spoken to Ms Tsimanouskaya.

“She has told us she feels safe,” IOC said.

The flight took off without Krystsina Tsimanouskaya on board. She is now “safe” and in police protection, the BSSF’s Anatol Kotau said.

You may read: Simone Biles withdraws from floor final at Tokyo Olympics