Tokyo Olympics: Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya ‘ordered to return home’ after criticising coach
Belarusian Olympic athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has said she was ordered to return home after criticising her coaches on social media.
Tsimanouskaya, a sprinter, said she was taken to a Tokyo airport before she was able to compete in the the 200 metres and 4x400 metres relay on Thursday, and has publically refused to board a plane home.
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At a glance: 5 key points
- Tsimanouskaya criticised the “negligence” of her coaches via Instagram on Thursday, saying “Some of our girls did not fly here to compete in the 4x400 m relay because they didn't have enough doping tests,” she said.
-”The coach added me to the relay without my knowledge. I spoke about this publicly. The head coach came over to me and said there had been an order from above to remove me,” she added.
-The Belarus Olympic Team said in response to the criticism that Tsimanouskaya was taken off the team because of her "emotional and psychological condition".
-Following her criticism of the coaches, Tsimanouskaya alleges that she was ordered to return to Belarus and was taken to Tokyo’s Haneda airport to board a plane.
-The athlete has reportedly refused to board a plane home and has appealed for assistance from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
What’s been said
In a video posted on messaging app Telegram from the airport, Tsimanouskaya said:
"They are trying to get me out of the country without my permission.
“I am asking the IOC to get involved."
This isn’t the first time Belarus has hit international headlines this year for attempts to suppress criticism of the country.
In May, the EU accused the country of “state terrorism” after a plane flying from Greece to Lithuania was diverted to Belarus in order to detain a journalist on board.
Since Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected in polls last year which were widely denounced as rigged, the country has seen a crackdown on dissenting voices.