Belarusian Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya Granted Polish Visa After Refusing to Fly Home

Poland on Monday has granted a humanitarian visa to Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya who earlier had refused a forced flight back home after her criticism of Olympic team officials.

Tsimanouskaya had been due to compete in the women’s 200-meter heats on Monday. Belarusian officials have taken her to the airport on Sunday to board a Turkish Airlines flight back home after criticizing her coaches on social media.

Tsimanouskaya refused to board the flight back to Minsk and sought police protection, voicing fears for her safety.

Timanovskaya, 24, stayed at the Polish embassy in Tokyo after spending the night secured in a hotel under protection of Japanese police.

Poland’s deputy foreign minister, Marcin Przydacz, tweeted on Monday that Tsimanouskaya was in direct contact with Polish diplomats and had been granted a humanitarian visa to Poland where she is expected to fly later this week.

Vadim Krivosheyev of the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, an activist group helping Tsimanouskaya, bought her a plane ticket to Warsaw for Wednesday.

Tsimanouskaya’s husband, Arseniy Zdanevich, also fled the country on Monday and is currently in Kyiv.

Japan’s top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said Tsimanouskaya is in a “safe situation with the cooperation of related organizations.” 

The Belarusian government has yet to comment on the Polish decision.

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