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Belarusian Olympian forced to the airport raises alarm


Sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was seeking protection on Sunday from Japanese police at a Tokyo airport, claiming she had been seized after publicly complaining about national coaches.

The Belarus Olympic Committee said on Facebook that the 24-year-old, who was to run in the 200m and 4x400m races, was removed from the Games due to her “emotional and psychological state”.

Tsimanouskaya told Reuters she did not want to return to Belarus and was in Haneda airport with Japanese police. She called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to get involved in her case.

The IOC revealed on Sunday night they and organisers of the Olympics had spoken to Tsymanouskaya directly.

They tweeted: “She is with the authorities at Haneda airport and is currently accompanied by a staff member of Tokyo 2020. She has told us that she feels safe.

Belarus Sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya

“The IOC and Tokyo 2020 will continue their conversations with Krystsina Tsymanouskaya and the authorities to determine the next steps in the upcoming days.”

Earlier on Sunday, having been taken to Haneda airport, Tsymanouskaya explained her circumstances in a video, posted on the Telegram channel of the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, a group that supports athletes jailed or sidelined for their political views.

“There is pressure against me,” she said. “They are trying to get me out of the country without my permission. I am asking the IOC to get involved.”

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Tsimanouskaya, who was due to compete in the 200m on Monday, also claims she was entered in the 4x400m relay without her permission after some members of the team were ruled ineligible to compete as they failed to undergo a sufficient amount of doping tests.

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