The IOC removes two Belarusian coaches, Sprinter says the order came from “high-up”


Tokyo — The two Belarusian coaches who cut the Tokyo Olympics for short sprinter Krystsina Zimanoskaya have been revoked and removed from the athlete’s village, the IOC said Friday.

According to the International Olympic Committee, athletics head coach Yuri Moisevic and the team’s official Arthur Schmack were asked to leave the Olympic Village a few days after ordering Zimanuskaya to pack up and go to the airport. rice field.

In an exclusive interview with Warsaw Reuters On Thursday, Tsimanouskaya said two officials said the order to send her her home came from a “high place” in Belarus.

In a story reminiscent of Cold War sports asylum, Zimanuskaya refused to fly on Sunday, causing turmoil when seeking protection from Japanese police before seeking asylum in Poland. There she reunited with her husband on Thursday.

The case of a 24-year-old athlete has been under western sanctions since last year after cracking down on adversaries, threatening to further isolate Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, whose son leads the National Olympic Committee.

“We’re not making a decision, we’re just doing it,” Tsimanouskaya said two officials told her. “I have 40 minutes. I have to pack up my luggage and go to the airport.”

Lukashenko’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment after an interview with Zimanoskaya.

Belarus Athletics Head Coach Yuri Moisevic talks in an interview in Tokyo
Belarusian athletics head coach Yuri Moisevic said in an interview in Tokyo, Japan, in a video released on August 1, 2021. (Bertele Radio Company via Reuters)

The Belarus Olympic Committee said in a statement on Friday that the two coaches would soon return to Minsk, adding that the coaches could appeal the decision and hope to continue dialogue with the IOC.

IOC President Thomas Bach called the Zimanuskaya case “sad” on Friday and said the Disciplinary Commission would continue.

“I’m happy that Krystsina Zimanoskaya is safe in Poland,” Bach said.

Zimanuskaya told her that it was unsafe for her grandmother to return to Belarus, so she said she had decided to escape because she was driving to Tokyo Airport.

She said she would testify at the Disciplinary Commission on Friday and urged the IOC to protect her and other athletes.

“I hope the International Olympic Committee will make the right decisions, protect the athletes and protect me,” she said.

The IOC has been scrutinized for failing to prevent athletes from being expelled from the Games by expressing her views on coach staff.

In the past, Olympic organizations have swiftly acted to suspend athletes, officers, or team members (including those whose investigation is tentatively pending) from the Olympics.

For Belarusian coaches, it took them four days to leave the tournament.

“For the well-being of the Belarus Olympic Committee athletes still in Tokyo, and as an interim measure, the IOC revoked and removed the certification of the two coaches last night,” the IOC said Friday.

“They will be offered the opportunity to hear.”


The Olympic movement is closely related to the Belarusian government.

Rene Fazel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), frequently visited the former Soviet nation in preparation for this year’s Men’s World Championships.

Belarus was later stripped of hosting rights over crackdowns on rebels and loose measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belarusian leader Lukashenko, an avid hockey player, was keen to raise the country’s fame by hosting international sporting events, including the 2019 European Games.

Spiros Kapralos, chairman of the European Olympic Committee and now an IOC member, was responsible for the coordinating committee of the event. Bach congratulated Lukashenko on the “excellent organization” of the event.

The IOC banned Lukashenko and his son Victor from participating in the tournament in December and refused to admit that Victor Lukashenko was elected president of the NOC in March.

Tsimanouskaya, who told Reuters that the IOC had been taken to the airport and kept in touch, said his teammates were not in touch, probably because he was afraid of the impact.

“I don’t think they support me because they’re afraid,” she said. “If they say something to support me, it can end up badly for them.”

On Thursday’s 4x400m heat course, Belarusian athletes closed their mouths about the situation in Zimanuskaya.

“The team will continue to carry out their mission and participate in the tournament,” said Elvira Hermann, a hurdle who ran a 4 x 400 meter relay in Belarus on Thursday.

“We came here not to cause problems, but to participate in the Olympics.”

Karolos Grohmann, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Parniyan Zemeryalai