Belarus Olympic athlete lands in Poland for refuge

Belarusian Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya landed in Poland on Wednesday, where she is to take refuge after saying she feared for her life if forced to return home.

The 24-year-old athlete has been at the centre of a diplomatic drama in the middle of the Games since seeking the protection of Tokyo 2020 staff on Sunday, saying her team was trying to bundle her onto a plane after she publicly criticised her coaches.

She was welcomed at Vienna airport by government minister Magnus Brunner.

Brunner said she had seemed “well, considering the circumstances”.

Tsimanouskaya then took a second flight, operated by Polish airline LOT, which landed in Warsaw at 8:11 pm (1811 GMT).

After landing, she did not exit through the regular passenger arrivals terminal but she did meet with Belarusian opposition figure Pavel Latushka in the airport building.

Before leaving Tokyo, Tsimanouskaya spent two nights sheltering in the Polish embassy there after calling for international help.

Tsimanouskaya was one of more than 2,000 Belarusian sports figures who signed an open letter calling for new elections and for political prisoners to be freed.

Her husband Arseny Zdanevich has fled to Ukraine and on Wednesday the Polish government said he had also been given a humanitarian visa. 

“I have successfully received a visa and am very grateful to the Polish ambassador for helping me so quickly,” Zdanevich told AFP.

The International Olympic Committee has said it will investigate Belarus’s Olympic team, as activists call for the country’s Olympic committee to be suspended and its athletes to compete as neutrals.

Shortly before the Tokyo Games, Lukashenko warned sports officials and athletes that he expected results in Japan.

The alleged attempt to return Tsimanouskaya to Belarus has prompted condemnation, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accusing Minsk of “another act of transnational repression”.

The Olympic saga came as police in Ukraine said missing Belarusian activist Vitaly Shishov, whose NGO helps his compatriots flee the country, had been found hanged in a park in Kiev.


Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Vertical Lobby is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment