Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said in a movie message delivered on social media that she was under pressure from Belarusian team officials.
A Belarusian truck sprinter claimed that her Olympic team tried to take her out of Japan in a conflict that led to a standoff on Sunday night at a major airport in Tokyo.
A group of activists supporting Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said she believed her life was at stake in Belarus and would seek asylum from the Austrian embassy in Tokyo.
Tsimanouskaya said in a movie message delivered on social media that he was under pressure from Belarusian team officials and sought help from the International Olympic Committee.
“I’m under pressure and they’re trying to force me out of the country without my consent,” said the 24-year-old runner.
Zimanuskaya, who will run in the Olympic 200-meter heat on Monday, has criticized Belarusian team officials on her Instagram account. She said she was put into the 4×400 relay even though she had never attended the event.
The Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation Group said government supporters targeted athletes. The athlete contacted the athlete to avoid her fear of being deported to Minsk.
“The campaign was so serious that it clearly showed that her life was at stake in Belarus,” BSSF spokesman Alexander Opeikin told The Associated Press in an interview.
Zimanuskaya summoned Japanese police at Haneda Airport and did not board the plane to Istanbul. Foreign ministry officials later arrived at the airport, according to Opeikin.
The IOC, which had been in conflict with the Belarusian National Olympic Committee prior to the Tokyo Olympics, said it had intervened.
“The IOC is … investigating the situation and seeking clarification from the NOC,” the Olympics said in a statement.
The National Olympic Committee of Belarus has been led by authoritarian state president Alexander Lukashenko and his son Victor for over 25 years.
Both Lukashenko were banned from the Tokyo Olympics by the IOC, which investigated complaints from athletes in the face of retaliation and intimidation from protests after the presidential election in August last year.
A spokesman for the Belarus Olympic team did not respond to a request for comment.
Zimanuskaya will be taken to a safe place and will seek asylum from the Austrian embassy, Mr. Opeikin said.
Zimanuskaya was already competing with Belarus on the first day of athletics at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Friday. She finished fourth in the first round heat at 11.47 seconds at 100 meters and did not move forward.
Kojin reported from Moscow.
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Belarusian runners said the Olympic team tried to send her home
Source link Belarusian runners said the Olympic team tried to send her home