Wednesday, May 18

The IOC expels the coaches who tried to repatriate the Belarusian athlete from the Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided on Friday to expel two coaches from the Belarus team from the Tokyo Games for their role in the attempted forced repatriation of sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya.

The IOC has decided to sanction technicians Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich in this way after creating a disciplinary commission to “clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident,” the agency announced in a statement on Friday.

“For the welfare of the athletes of the Belarusian National Olympic Committee who are still in Tokyo and as an interim measure, the IOC has canceled and withdrawn the accreditations of the two coaches,” he said.

The two coaches have been asked to leave the Olympic Village immediately and they did, according to the IOC, adding that it will offer both “an opportunity to explain themselves.”

Tsimanouskaya landed in Warsaw last Wednesday, after granting Poland asylum after she asked for help from the Japanese police while members of her national committee tried to force her to return to her country, which the athlete described as an “kidnapping” attempt.

The runner, known for having expressed her support for the popular movement against Alexandr Lukashenko’s regime, competed in the Tokyo Olympics and feared reprisals upon returning to Belarus, she explained in videos and messages posted on social media.

The 24-year-old athlete recounted through a video how the team leaders came to her room last Sunday just one day before her competition and forced her to pack her bags in an hour and then go to the airport where she would be repatriated to Belarus.

The young woman requested the help of the IOC in the situation. “I ask the International Olympic Committee for help. They are trying to get me out of the country without my permission. I ask the IOC to get involved,” he said. “I am not afraid of being kicked out of the national team, what I fear is arriving in Belarus and being imprisoned,” he said.

Belarusian state media related to the regime assured that the athlete’s abandonment was due to “a bad emotional and psychological situation,” the same clarification given by Belarusian officials in the competition. Something that the opposition denies: “It is revenge for the video he published.”