Belarus Olympian safe in Tokyo hotel

Sports Desk,
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

A Belarusian Olympian who refused her team's order to fly home early is safe after seeking protection from Japanese police, Games officials have said.

They say sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, spent the night in a hotel at Tokyo's Haneda airport.

She says she was forcefully taken to the airport on Sunday for criticising coaches. Belarus says her "emotional condition" was the reason for the move.

The Czech Republic and Poland say they are ready to offer the athlete a visa.

Tsimanouskaya is now said to be considering seeking asylum in Europe.

At Monday's news briefing in Tokyo, International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams said Ms Tsimanouskaya was being looked after by the Japanese authorities. He said the UN refugee agency was also involved.

Adams added that Belarus' National Olympic Committee (NOC) had been asked for a full written report into the issue. The IOC and the Japanese authorities will also be holding further consultations.

He also said the IOC had 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.

Source: BBC