The Belarusian sprinter Krystina Tsimanouskaya, who refused to return to his country for fear of political reprisals from his government, has obtained a Polish humanitarian visa, the Polish Deputy Foreign Minister reported on Monday, Marcin Przydacz.
“Krystina Tsimanouskaya, a Belarusian athlete, is already in direct contact with Polish diplomats in Tokyo; she has received a humanitarian visa,” Przydacz posted on her social networks, a few hours after using the same medium to say that “Poland is ready to help “the athlete.
“Poland will do whatever it takes to help her (Tsimanouskaya) continue her sports career: Poland is always synonymous with solidarity, “wrote the Polish Deputy Foreign Minister on his Twitter account.
Kryscina Tsimanouskaya a Belarusian athlet is already in direct contact with Polish diplomats in Tokyo. She has received a humanitarian Visa. Poland will do whatever is necessary to help her to continue her sporting career. ?? always stands for Solidarity.
– Marcin Przydacz (@marcin_przydacz) August 2, 2021
This situation has led to the first diplomatic crossroads faced by the hosts of the Tokyo Olympics after the Belarusian sprinter claimed that her country had tried to “kidnap” her to take her back.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24 years old, asked for protection from the Tokyo Haneda airport police when members of the Belarusian Olympic Committee took her there against her will to board her on a plane back to her country, according to her testimony, an act that the athlete herself described as “kidnapping”.
The athlete, who sent a video message asking for help to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 that has ended up circulating on the networks, spent the night in an airport hotel and is “in a place where she feels safe and they are taking care of her “, according to has revealed the spokesman of the IOC Mark Adams.
The organizers did not want to offer more details., claiming that the case is being investigated and that they are doing everything possible to know her requests and help her in this regard.
The repression of Lukashenko
The Japanese government is also aware of the incident, government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said in his daily press conference, assuring that the athlete is “in a safe situation with the cooperation of the relevant organizations.”
Tsimanouskaya should have competed this Monday in the 200-meter dash, after having participated in the 100 three days ago.
The sprinter was also featured in the 4×400 meter relay on August 5, a test in which she was not originally scheduled to participate and for which she had not trained. The young woman reflected her dissatisfaction and critical comments with her coach on her social networks, which she understands was the trigger for the deportation attempt.
Athlete stated in a message disseminated through a support group that he feared for his safety if he returned to Belarus, where the repression of the regime led by Aleksandr Lukashenko with its critics has intensified, including athletes who participated in the protests against his controversial re-election.
Tsimanouskaya was one of the athletes who condemned the violence in the state repression of the protests and expressed his support for the demonstrations in favor of democracy. Both President Lukashenko and his son, Viktor, president of the Belarusian Olympic Committee, were banned from attending the Tokyo Games due to their attitude towards critical athletes.
The Czech authorities had also been willing to help the sprinter, whose situation they called “scandalous”. The Czech embassy in Tokyo “is ready to act,” said the country’s foreign minister, Jakub Kulhánek, on Twitter.
“Krystsina is welcome in Slovenia”, published for his part the Slovenian Prime Minister, Janez Jansa. And he asked the IOC to investigate the management of the Belarusian Olympic Committee and to impose sanctions on those involved in the “attempted kidnapping” of Tsimanouskaya.
The Tsimanouskaya incident, which she claims to have felt pressured by her National Olympic Committee, comes just days after President Lukashenko lashed out at Belarusian athletes for their performance in Tokyo and questioned the country’s investment in them.
The president assured on July 29 that Belarus finances sport “more than any other country” and regretted not seeing results.
Belarus has so far garnered two medals, a gold in gymnastics, which Ivan Litvinovich won on July 31, and Maxim Nedasekau’s bronze in high jump, the day before.
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