Belarusian Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskay has refused to get on a flight home from Tokyo Haneda Airport on Sunday, accusing the Belarusian Olympic Committee of forcing her to leave the country.
Tsimanouskay claimed she was forced by the Belarusian Olympic Committee to pack before being taken to the airport against her will and leave the Tokyo Olympics after criticizing national coaches on Instagram.
“I’m not afraid of being kicked out of the national team, I am afraid that in Belarus I might be imprisoned. Officials say the order to get rid of me came from the very top,” said Tsimanouskay in a phone interview.
Tsimanouskay initially criticized the coaches for enrolling her in the 4x400m relay after her fellow athletes were disqualified for not doing enough doping tests before the games. She had never run the 4×400 relay before and was only prepared to run the 100 meters and 200 meters.
The Belarusian Olympic Committee said that Tsimanouskay was removed from the Olympics because of her “emotional, psychological state.”
The International Olympic Committee is looking into the incident and seeking clarification from the Belarusian Olympic Committee.
The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation said that Tsimanouskay is seeking asylum in either Austria or Germany and indicated that she “will not return to Belarus.”
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