Belarusian athlete Timanovskaya refuses to fly home

16:55, 01 August 2021
Belarusian athlete Timanovskaya refuses to fly home Photo:

A Belarusian Olympic athlete Kristina Timanovskaya has been taken off the team due to her “emotional and psychological condition”, and would not participate in either 200m or 400m event, according to the Belarus Olympic Team.

The athlete was due to compete in the women’s 200m run on Monday, but instead, Kristina was sent to Tokyo's airport by force.

Before that, Belarusian coaching staff entered her room and told the athlete to pack, Kristina told Reuters. Such a decision to depart the athlete back home came to Belarusian staff after Kristina criticized Belarusian officials for changing the athletes in a Thursday’s 400m relay event at short notice, urging her to compete. She had previously alleged in an Instagram video that her team mates were considered to be ineligible to compete.

The sprinter told Reuters that her removal from the team was connected with her speech on Instagram, where she spoke about the “negligence of our coaches.”

“I will not return to Belarus,” Timanovskaya told Reuters.

Belarus journalist Tadeusz Giczan said that Kristina is at the Haneda airport, surrounded by Tokyo’s police, and she wants to apply for asylum in Austria.