World Athletics Investigates Two Belarusian Coaches Who Tried to Send Athlete Home During Tokyo Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Athletics agreed to investigate two Belarusian coaches accused of trying to force an athlete to fly home from the Tokyo Olympics after she criticized them.

In a joint statement, IOC and the World Athletics announced that they have now opened a “formal procedure” into the case involving coaches Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich who tried to send sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya home.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) will conduct the procedure “with the full collaboration and support of the IOC,” the statement said.

AIU is the independent body created by World Athletics to oversees all integrity issues, both doping-related and non-doping-related, for the sport.

“The AIU will publish the outcome of its investigation when this has been finalized,” the statement said.

The IOC revoked the coaches’ credentials during the Olympics and asked them to leave the Olympic Village immediately.

Timanovskaya said that she was taken to the airport in Tokyo against her will after she posted a video on social media criticizing the coaches and a day before her scheduled race.

Timanovskaya alleged in the video that Belarusian officials entered her into the 400-meter relay race in addition to the 200-meter relay race she had prepared for.

Timanovskaya received police protection and was eventually granted political asylum by Poland after she voiced her fears, including potential retaliation in Belarus under President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been called Europe’s last dictator.

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