Belarus athlete taken to airport against her will is ‘safe and secure’ in Tokyo

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, said the Belarusian head coach turned up at her room yesterday and ordered her to leave Japan, however she refused to board the flight at the airport

Belarusian athlete Krystina Tsimanouskaya refused to board a plane at the airport

A Belarusian athlete who refused to board a flight after allegedly being taken to the airport against her will is ‘safe and secure’ in Tokyo, it has been confirmed.

The International Olympic Committee said Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, spent the night in an airport hotel after she approached police at Tokyo International Airport yesterday.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other agencies were in contact with the sprinter.

Ms Tsimanouskaya, who was due to race in the 200 metre heats at the Olympic Stadium on Monday, had her Games cut short when she said she was taken to the airport to board a Turkish Airlines flight.

She told a Reuters reporter via Telegram that the Belarusian head coach had turned up at her room yesterday at the athletes village and told her she had to leave.

Ms Tsimanouskaya sought protection from Japanese police after refusing to return to Belarus



“The head coach came over to me and said there had been an order from above to remove me,” she wrote in the message.

“At 5 (pm) they came my room and told me to pack and they took me to the airport.”

But she refused to board the flight, telling Reuters: “I will not return to Belarus.”

The Belarusian Olympic Committee said in a statement coaches had decided to withdraw Ms Tsimanouskaya from the Games on doctors’ advice about her “emotional, psychological state”.

Belarus athletics head coach Yuri Moisevich told state television he “could see there was something wrong with her… She either secluded herself or didn’t want to talk.”

Adams said the IOC would continue conversations with Tsimanouskaya on Monday and the Olympics governing body had asked for a full report from the Belarus’ Olympic committee.

Yesterday’s incident, first reported by Reuters, highlighted discord in Belarus, a former Soviet state that is run with a tight grip by President Alexander Lukashenko.

In response to a number of questions by journalists about what the IOC would do to ensure other athletes in the village were protected, the IOC spokesman said they were still collecting details about what exactly occurred.

He said the IOC had taken a number of actions against Belarus’ Olympic Committee in the run up to the Games following nationwide protests in the country.

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