Belarus Olympic athlete says taken to airport against her wishes

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for assistance, alleging she had been removed from the national team and taken to Tokyo airport against her wishes to be returned home over her criticism of national coaches.

“I am asking the International Olympic Committee for help,” Tsimanouskaya said in a video on Sunday, posted on the Telegram channel of the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, a group that supports athletes jailed or sidelined for their political views.

“There is pressure against me. They are trying to get me out of the country without my permission. I am asking the IOC to get involved.”

Tsimanouskaya was due to compete in the women’s 200 metres on Monday. Tsimanouskaya, 24, said the coaching staff had come to her room on Sunday and told her to pack up. She was taken to the city’s Haneda airport before she could run in the 200 metres and 4×400 metres relay on Thursday.

She said she had been removed from the team due “to the fact that I spoke on my Instagram about the negligence of our coaches”.

The Belarusian Olympic Committee said in a statement that coaches had decided to withdraw Tsimanouskaya from the games on doctors’ advice about her “emotional, psychological state”.

The Belarusian Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

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