Belarusian Olympic runner Kristina Timanovskaya criticized her country’s sports officials – and she was brought to Tokyo airport shortly thereafter. The opposition is convinced: the authoritarian Belarusian authorities wanted to kidnap Timanovskaya.
Thriller about a Belarusian athlete at the Olympics: According to the opposition, Kristina Timanovskaya should be kidnapped from Tokyo by the authoritarian authorities of her country. The 24-year-old said in a video posted by the Belarus Sports Solidarity Foundation (BSSF), after publicly criticizing Belarusian sports officials for their expulsion from Japan against her will. BSSF spoke of a “violent” exit attempt.
Pictures and reports from independent Belarusian media show that he has already been flown to Tokyo airport. Several journalists gathered there that evening. Tymanovskaya later told the BSSF that she was now under the protection of the Japanese police, who turned to her at the airport: “I am now safe.” The young woman, who previously resided in the Olympic Village, explained that they are now looking for a place to sleep at night.
They said I should go home.
The Belarusian Olympic Committee (NOK) had previously said on Telegram that the player had been examined by a doctor and would not participate in any other competitions due to her “emotional and psychological state”. Timanovskaya described this on Instagram as a “lie.” In an interview with Euroradio, she said, “You just told me to pack up and go home.”
The media reported that Al-Riyadi had already received advice on the site from a lawyer specializing in refugee law. According to BSSF, Timanovskaya wants to apply for asylum in Europe. Czech Foreign Minister Jakob Kolhanek said on Twitter that evening that his country was offering a visa to Tymanovskaya “so that she could get international protection from us.” The Czech Embassy in Tokyo is also ready to help. “I find the situation around sprinter Kristina Timanovskaja scandalous,” Culhank wrote.
The International Olympic Committee announced Sunday evening that it had spoken to Tymanovskaya. She is with the authorities at the airport. “She told us she feels safe,” the IOC wrote on Twitter. She added that the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo Organizing Committee will continue talks with the athlete.
The International Olympic Committee had earlier announced that it was monitoring the issue and had asked the Norwegian kroner for clarification. Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tishanovskaya welcomed the IOC’s quick response. “Important to investigate violations of athletes’ rights by NOK,” she wrote on Twitter.
Tymanovskaya has expressed her criticism of the country’s sports officials
On Monday, the runner was supposed to start the race over 200 metres. She has previously expressed herself critically of her country’s sporting officials. The athlete suspected that other Belarusian athletes would not be able to compete due to not being provided with sufficient negative doping samples.
The Belarusian apparatus of power headed by Alexander Lukashenko repeatedly suppressed critics and those who think differently. Recently, it witnessed raids targeting independent media and non-governmental organizations, in which several people were arrested. Lukashenko, frequently criticized as “Europe’s last dictator”, has not been recognized by the European Union as head of state since the presidential election, which was widely considered rigged, about a year ago. The protests in the months following the elections left several dead, hundreds injured, and thousands arrested.
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