Japan shelters Belarusian sprinter who criticized team coaches at Olympics

11:36, 02 August 2021
Japan shelters Belarusian sprinter who criticized team coaches at Olympics Photo:

The Belarusian athlete Krystina Timanovskaya who had sought protection from police during the Olympic Games after claiming her team was forcing her to return home as she criticized her coaches was safe, Japan's top government spokesman told the press on Monday.

Japanese authorities, including the International Olympic Committee, have been working to confirm athlete's intentions, Japan would take "appropriate steps", Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato confirmed.

On Monday she arrived at Poland's Embassy in Tokyo in an unmarked silver van with her official team luggage, before entering the premises Timanovskaya reportedly greeted two officials.

Later on Monday Poland has granted a visa to 'at risk' Belarusian Olympic athlete, she would seek asylum in the country. Polish consular officials did not immediately respond to comment. 

Krystina Timanovskaya, 24, sought the protection of Japanese police at Haneda Airport on Sunday after she refused to board a flight from Tokyo to Minsk after being taken to the airport against her wishes. Following the incident, she was offered asylum by Poland and the Czech Republic. The Belarusian athlete is reportedly considering seeking asylum in Germany or Austria. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was also in contact with the sprinter.

Timanovskaya, who ran in the women’s 100-meter heats Friday, was supposed to run in the 200-meter heats Monday and the 4x400-meter relay Thursday.