“I will not go back to Belarus,” the 24-year-old told Reuters news agency. Tymanovskaga, who was supposed to compete in the 200m on Monday, criticized the coach for assigning him to the 4x400m relay without her knowledge. According to Tymanovskaya, some runners were canceled due to missing doping tests.
Then the Belarusian state media began a campaign against the player, calling her “a disgrace to the nation,” journalist Tadeusz Gekzan reported on Twitter. With the persistence of Zhikzan, Timanovskaya did not criticize the regime of the authoritarian ruling head of state Alexander Lukashenko.
Gekzan said the sprinter only complained in a video clip that the Belarusian federation had registered her for a competition she did not train for. The head of the Olympic Committee of Belarus is Viktor Lukashenko, the eldest son of the head of state. Tymanovskaya told Reuters her coach had told her she had “orders from above” to “stay away”.
The police asked for help
On Sunday, the supervisors came to her room and asked her to pack her belongings. The athlete was transferred to Haneda Airport in Tokyo. At the airport, she turned to the Japanese police for help.
“I am under pressure, the Belarusian team is trying to get me out of the country against my will,” she said in a video sent to the International Olympic Committee, calling on them to intervene. According to the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Fund organization, the runner thwarted her unintended trip home. You are under police protection. Japanese media reported that the athlete left the airport at night (local time) and was taken to a safe place.
A message from the Belarus Olympic Committee on Telegram said that the runner has undergone a medical examination and will not participate in any other competitions due to her “emotional and psychological state”. The athlete called this representation “a lie”.
Asylum in Austria?
According to media reports, Timanovskaya is trying to obtain asylum in Austria or Germany. According to an opposition group, she wants to apply for asylum at the Austrian embassy in Tokyo. There is currently no confirmation of this.
“Al-Riyadi has not yet contacted the Austrian embassy in Tokyo,” a spokesman for the Austrian Foreign Ministry told APA on Sunday afternoon.
He stressed that media reports on the case are known to the ministry. However, in principle applications for asylum can only be submitted in person and with regard to Austrian asylum in Austria itself, he at the same time indicated the current legal situation.
Opposition leader calls for investigation
Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya thanked the International Olympic Committee on Twitter for the quick response. The runner “has the right to international protection” and to continue participating in the Olympic Games. It also called for an investigation into the violation of the rights of the athlete.
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