It’s been confirmed a Belarusian Olympian who refused her team’s order to fly home early is safe and well after seeking protection from police teams in Japan.
Olympic games officials say sprinter 24-year old Krystsina Tsimanouskaya spent the night in a hotel at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Ms Tsimanouskaya claims she was forcefully taken to the airport on Sunday after criticising her trainers and coaches. Belarus says her “emotional condition” was the reason for the move.
Ms Tsimanouskaya is now said to be considering seeking asylum in Europe. Already, the Czech Republic and Poland are ready to offer the athlete a visa.
At this morning’s news briefing in Tokyo, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said Ms Tsimanouskaya was being looked after by the Japanese authorities. He said the UN refugee agency was also involved.
Mr Adams added that Belarus’ National Olympic Committee had been asked for a full written report into the issue. The IOC and the Japanese authorities will also be holding further consultations.
Mark Adams confirmed the IOC had previously taken measures against the Belarusian committee in the run-up to the Games, after last year’s protests over the disputed re-election of the country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko. It banned some officials, including the president’s son, for failing to protect athletes who had joined the demonstrations.