IOC: Belarusian athlete safe in Tokyo

The Belarusian athlete who was brought to Tokyo Airport to fly back home against her will, according to the International Olympic Committee, is safe in Tokyo. 24-year-old Kristina Tsimanuskaya spent the night in an airport hotel, says the IOC.

According to the committee, Tsimanuskaya contacted the Japanese police yesterday. A spokesperson said at a press conference that several agencies are in contact with the sprint star, including the Refugee Commissioner. According to the Japanese Government, Tsimanuskayas motives are also being examined and appropriate measures are being taken if necessary.

The 24-year-old athlete reported yesterday that she was unexpectedly told to pack her stuff. She was said to be taken to the airport along with a member of the Belarusian delegation and a psychologist. The head coach told her to leave on โ€œorder from aboveโ€.

Criticism of Coaches

The sprint star says she was kicked off the team after she had criticised her coaches on Instagram. It was supposed to fly from Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and then switch to a flight to Belarus.

The Olympic Committee of Belarus, headed by authoritarian president Lukashenkos son, states that Tsimanuskaya would be recovered because of its โ€œemotional and psychological stateโ€. Against the Belarusian state TV, head coach Mojsevich said that there was clearly โ€œsomething wrong with herโ€. โ€œShe shut down and didnt want to talk.โ€

On the Belarusian state television, she is reprobated for not being a patriot. Belarusians are told that Tsimanouskaja chose herself while she was given the opportunity to represent her country. โ€œShe says she doesnt want to go back to her country, although its unclear what would happen then,โ€ says correspondent Geert Groot Koerkamp. He doesnt think its obvious that she would end up in jail right away. โ€œBut it might be that she suddenly blames herself and asks for forgiveness in an interview on the state television,โ€ says Groot Koerkamp.

The Belarusian authorities are known for publishing โ€œconfession videosโ€ of arrested opposition figures, in which they regret their role in the opposition movement. To do so, they are forced by the police or the secret service KGB.

The arrested journalist Roman Protasevich also told in an โ€œinterviewโ€ with the state television that he respects President Lukashenko. A statement that is at odds with his past as an activist and journalist, in which he was extremely critical.

Neighbouring Poland has already offered help. Deputy Foreign Minister Przydacz reports on social media that Poland has offered her a visa and that she can resume her sports career in Poland if she wants to. The Czech Republic also reports its willingness to offer it a visa.

On Instagram, Tsimanuskaya criticized her trainers fierce: