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Belarus athlete offered Poland visa as US slams 'repression'

Published : Tuesday, 3 August, 2021 at 10:47 PM  Count : 385

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya [FILE PHOTO]

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya [FILE PHOTO]


A Belarusian Olympic athlete was sheltering in Poland's embassy in Tokyo on Tuesday after being offered safe passage to Warsaw, as the US slammed her team's attempt to send her home, reports AFP.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya says she fears for her safety if she returns to Belarus, and claims her team attempted to force her onto a plane after she criticised her coaches.

The Global Athlete organisation meanwhile called on the International Olympic Committee to suspend Belarus's Olympic organisation, as the IOC said it would formally investigate Tsimanouskaya's claims.

 Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is escorted by police officers at Haneda international airport in Tokyo [Reuters]

Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is escorted by police officers at Haneda international airport in Tokyo [Reuters]


The 24-year-old sprinter spent the night in Poland's embassy in Tokyo after arriving there on Monday evening.

Poland said Monday it had granted her a humanitarian visa after a "criminal attempt" to kidnap the athlete.

"We have made sure that Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is safe in the Polish embassy in Tokyo and we will, if necessary, offer her the possibility of continuing her career," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Facebook.

The athlete was expected to stay at the Polish embassy in Tokyo until leaving for Warsaw, possibly as soon as Wednesday, Poland-based dissident Pavel Latushka wrote on Twitter.

Her husband Arseny Zdanevich told AFP he had fled Belarus and was hoping to join his wife "in the near future".

SZA



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