Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Belarusian Olympians leave Tokyo for Vienna

A Belarusian Olympic sprinter, who said she would face punishment if she returned to her country, departed Japan on a flight to Austria on Wednesday.

Kristina Simanovskaya was to land in Vienna on Wednesday afternoon. He is then expected to travel to Poland, where the government has offered him a humanitarian visa.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki posted on Facebook on Tuesday that he had spoken with Tsimanowskaia and that she should be able to stay in Poland without any hindrances.

Polish authorities granted Tsimanoushskaya a humanitarian visa to seek political asylum on Monday after she alleged that officials on her team were trying to force her to go home to Belarus against her will.

Belarusian sprinter Kristina Tsimanoushskaya arrives at the Polish Embassy in Tokyo, Japan on August 2, 2021.

Tsimanovskaya told officials in Tokyo she feared she would not be safe from President Alexander Lukashenko’s autocratic government in Belarus.

“They made it clear that I would definitely face some sort of punishment when I returned home,” she told the Associated Press in Tuesday’s videocall interview. “There were also little hidden hints that more would await me.”

A few days after his departure from Tokyo, he was incensed in the state media in Belarus by criticizing the official handling of Belarusian Olympians.

On her Instagram account, Simanovskaya stated that she was included in the country’s 4×400 relay team, although she never raced in the event.

The National Olympic Committee of Belarus has been led by Lukashenko and his son Viktor for more than 25 years.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Lukashenko government was trying to force Simonskaya to leave the Games “only for freedom of expression”.

Some information in this report has been received from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.


Belarusian Olympians leave Tokyo for Vienna
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