Belarusian sprinter asks for political asylum in Japan: What you need to know
Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya released a short video on her social media asking the IOC to help her avoid being sent back to her home country, Belarus after she criticized coaches on social media. She said in her video that the Belarusian authorities are trying to "forcibly take me out of the country without my consent”.
The National Olympic Committee of Belarus released a statement saying, "The coaching staff of the Belarusian national athletics team made a decision to withdraw Krystina Tsimanouskaya from the Olympic Games, according to the doctor’s report on her mental and emotional state.” However, Kristina claims that she has not seen any doctor.
The issue began after the sprinter complained about being forcibly entered into women's 4x400 meters relay. She said that she does not specialize in that category. She was also entered in the 200m relay, but will no longer take part.
She was later taken to the airport in Tokyo against her will, where she approached a Japanese police officer and asked for political asylum. Currently, she is under the protection of the Japanese police. The 24-year-old later told Reuters she will "will not return to Belarus”.
IOC said in a statement, "The IOC has seen the reports in the media, is looking into the situation and has asked the NOC (National Olympic Committee of Belarus) for clarification."