Fri. Sep 17th, 2021

Updates on the Tokyo Olympics

A white Russian runner who was to compete during the Olympic Games in Tokyo was taken to her airport after she made complaints about her coaches, according to media reports Sunday night.

The International Olympic Committee, the organizers of the Games, said that the Belarus team had asked for clarification on the status and location of Krystina Tsimanouskaya, who will take part in the women’s 200m sprint on Monday.

The dictatorial leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, and his regime are widely regarded as international pariahs after fraudulently claiming victory in last year’s presidential election and then a cruel campaign to suppress protesters and supporters of his rival, who beat thousands and sent them to prison.

Images and videos circulated on social media by Belarusian opposition activists show Tsimanouskaya at Tokyo airport, where she refused to board a plane and instead sought refuge with Japanese police.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya competed in the women’s 100m qualifiers on Friday but narrowly missed out on the semi-finals © Aleksandra Szmigiel / Reuters

The IOC said it had “seen the reports in the media, investigated them and [Belarus] National Olympic Committee for clarification. ”

The Japanese police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Belarussian Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but a statement attributed to the body indicated that she had been removed by coaches on the advice of doctors about her ’emotional, psychological state’.

Late Sunday, Tsimanouskaya shared a screenshot of the statement on Instagram with the message: “This is a lie”.

“I am asking the International Olympic Committee for help, they are putting pressure on me and trying to take me out of the country without my permission,” Tsimanouskaya said in a video message allegedly taken from the airport on Sunday night and on social media.

A person close to the Olympic officials said that there was still ‘confusion’ about the incident, adding that they had been told that Tsimanouskaya had boarded a bus to the airport and had gone through the departure area to board. to board a plane to Istanbul, after which she sought Japanese police to seek asylum.

The Belarussian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya tweeted that she was grateful to the IOC for its prompt response. “She has the right to international protection and to participate in the Olympic Games. “It is also crucial to investigate Belarus’s NOC violation of athletes’ rights,” she said.

Tsimanouskaya on Friday criticized her coaches and team management in a Instagram post who said that she was ‘ignored’ and that ‘people in higher ranks should respect us as athletes’.

The 24-year-old competed in the women’s 100m qualifiers on Friday but could not qualify for the semi-finals of the event. She is listed at the official Olympics because she would compete in the first round of the 200 meters at the Olympic Stadium on Monday morning.

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