A Belarusian sprinter who refused to board a return flight to his home country for fear of being arrested after openly criticizing his coach at the Tokyo Olympics warned his grandmother that it was unsafe to return to her. Revealed.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya in eastern Belarus then fled to the Polish capital instead. There she arrived on Wednesday and obtained a visa for humanitarian reasons.
24-years-old Told the BBC She could easily talk to her grandmother while she was being taken to the airport. My grandmother told her, “Don’t go home.” She then used her phone to translate the plea and show it to Japanese police in an attempt to avoid being pushed into the plane.
Tsimanouskaya’s grandmother explained that there was a massive backlash against her in the Belarusian state media, including reports that she was mentally ill. Her parents also suggested that she go to Poland.
“She said she shouldn’t go back to Belarus because she wasn’t safe in Belarus. She said they were saying bad things about me. [state-run] TV: I was ill. There was a psychological problem, “said Timanovskaya.
“I couldn’t believe it [that my grandmother would tell me not to come home], But I asked, “Are you sure?” And she said, “Yes. I’m sure. Don’t come back,” she remembered. “That’s why I went to the police.”
At the airport, she sought help from the police and used Google Translate to convey her plea in Japanese. At first, they didn’t understand, and Belarusian officials asked what was happening. She insisted that she had to forget something and go home in the Olympic Village. Police eventually took her out of Belarusian authorities.
On July 30, Olympic athletes posted a message on Instagram, criticizing how the team was managed and triggering a dramatic series of events.
According to Tsimanouskaya, the Belarus Olympic Committee (NOC RB) was forced to compete in the Tokyo Olympics 4 x 400 meter relay race after other athletes were disqualified from the event due to a failed doping test. .. .. She publicly criticized the Commission’s decision.
NOC RB announced on August 1 that she would send Tsimanouskaya home because of her “emotional and psychological state,” but the athlete denied this and explained that she had not been seen by a doctor. did.
Her reaction led to intense criticism in the Belarusian media, and one television channel described her as an athlete “lacking team spirit.” Tsimanouskaya is eligible to participate in the 100m and 200m events of the 2020 Summer Olympics. She previously won the gold medal at 200 meters at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Italy.
When her story struck the international media, several countries, including the Czech Republic and Poland, said she was ready to offer her visas and protection.
At a press conference in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, she thanked the people who supported her during the standoffs on Thursday.
“It was all over the world, and these people make me much stronger,” she said, adding that she now feels safe. Still, she expressed concern about the safety of her family in her hometown. Her husband, Arseni Zudanevic, fled Belarus this week shortly after his wife said she wouldn’t come back. Poland also gave him a visa.
Landlocked countries in Eastern Europe are known for their relentless pursuit of critics. The Zimanuskaya case once again put the spotlight on a country that has been governed by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. Last year, national protests against his disputed reelection were severely suppressed by security forces.
Belarusian authorities arrested dissident journalists in May, directing a jet airliner to the capital of Minsk, as a sign that authorities were trying to silence critics.
“I want to tell all Belarusians not to be afraid, and if they are under pressure, raise your voice,” Lanna said at a meeting in Warsaw to her fellow Belarusians. I said in.
Zimanuskaya called for an investigation into what had happened and said the International Olympic Committee had opened a disciplinary case “to prove the facts” in her case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From NTD News