JO: repatriation avoided, flight of her husband … how the sprinter Tsimanouskaya escaped Belarus

In the political field as in that of sport, the Belarusian authorities do not allow any opposition to pass and the athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya can testify to it. The Belarusian sprinter was almost forcibly repatriated to her country from Tokyo, where the Olympic Games are currently taking place. A state affair in full competition which attracted the attention of the whole world.

“The Obs” recapitulates the facts:

  • Athlete reviews

Sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya fiercely criticized her coaches and her federation on Friday July 30. She criticized them for having been forced to participate in the 4×400-meter relay, when she was initially registered in the 100 meters and 200 meters. Two other Belarusian athletes supposed to run the relay would not have carried out a sufficient number of doping controls, she explains.

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“The coach added me to the relay without telling me. I have spoken about it publicly. The head coach came to me and told me there was an order from above to pull me out [de l’équipe], the 24-year-old told Reuters.

On Sunday, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya claims to have been forced to suspend her participation in the Games by the coach of her team. The President of the Belarusian Olympic Committee Viktor Lukashenko, son of President Alexander Lukashenko, specifies that the sportswoman had to suspend her participation in the Olympic Games on “Decision of the doctors, because of his emotional and psychological state”. Information denied by Krystsina Tsimanouskaya.

This punishment is “Due to the fact that I spoke on my Instagram account of the negligence of our coaches ”, explains the sprinter to Reuters.

  • Forcefully taken to the airport

This Monday, August 2, the athlete is not on the starting line of the 200-meter series. And for good reason: her delegation took her by force to Tokyo airport on Sunday with the aim of repatriating her to Belarus. Krystsina Tsimanouskaya struggles and refuses to get on the plane.

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According to journalist Andrei Vaitovich, who quotes Turkish Airlines, Tsimanouskaya has not yet checked in to board the plane that will take her to Istanbul when Japanese agents come to her. She was therefore flanked by several police officers, as Reuters images show.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya tells online media to have ” fear “ to end up in prison if she returned to Belarus.

  • Safe in a hotel

The Japanese police then protect the sprinter. She is brought to safety in an airport hotel. “She assured us that she felt safe. She spent the night in an airport hotel » of Tokyo-Haneda, says IOC Communications Director Mark Adams. The IOC was to meet with her again on Monday in order to know her intentions and the ” to support “added Mark Adams.

  • Her husband takes refuge in Ukraine

The only problem is that his family is still in Belarus, where the authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko usually puts pressure on the families of his opponents. Contacted by AFP, Arseni Zdanevich, husband of the sprinter, said he had joined Ukraine because of the conflict between his wife and the Belarusian authorities. According to him, neither the athlete nor his family are ” safe ” in Belarus.

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Arseni Zdanevich has also announced that he wishes to join his wife where she will find refuge. Initially, the Czech Republic offered to host the sprinter.

  • Poland offers Tsimanouskaya visa

Finally, it is Poland which grants a humanitarian visa to Krystsina Tsimanouskaya. Athlete “Is already in direct contact with Polish diplomats in Tokyo. She received a humanitarian visa. Poland will do whatever it takes to help them pursue their sporting career ”, wrote Marcin Przydacz, Polish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, on Twitter.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is “Safe within the confines of our embassy” in Tokyo, he told the news channel TVN24. “Poland offers its support to Belarusian citizens who, for political reasons, wish to leave Belarusian territory or do not want to return to Belarus”, he added. According to officials from the Foreign Ministry, quoted by Polish media, the athlete could travel to Poland this week.

V. G.

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