Tokyo 2020: Belarusian Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya 'safe and secure' in Tokyo after refusing to fly back to Minsk
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya didn't want to return to Belarus early and has been seeking protection from Japanese police; Tsimanouskaya says she was seized by officials from Belarus after she publicly complained about the national coaches; she has now arrived at the Polish embassy in Tokyo
Last Updated: 02/08/21 12:51pm
The Belarusian Olympian who refused to get on a flight from Tokyo after she said she was taken to an airport against her will is "safe and secure" and being looked after, the International Olympic Committee has said.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, spent the night in an airport hotel after seeking the protection of Japanese police at Haneda airport late on Sunday. She has now arrived at the Polish embassy in Tokyo.
The Olympian said she was seized by officials from her own country on Sunday after she publicly complained about the national coaches.
Mark Adams, spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, said Tsimanouskaya was talking with Games officials about what to do next.
He said: "She assured us and has assured us that she feels safe and secure. She spent the night at an airport hotel in a safe and secure environment.
"The IOC and Tokyo 2020 will continue their conversations with her and the Japanese authorities to determine the next step in the upcoming days."
Tsimanouskaya's arrival at the Polish embassy comes after France's European affairs minister said it would be an "honour" if Europe were to grant her political asylum.
She had been due to compete in the women's 200 metres and the 4x400 metres relay at the Tokyo Olympics this week.
But Tsimanouskaya criticised team officials on her Instagram account, saying she was put in the relay despite never having raced in the event before.
She had also claimed some members of her team were judged ineligible to compete because they had not undergone enough doping tests.
Coaching staff went to Tsimanouskaya's room and told her to pack as a response to what she had said, she claimed.
When she arrived at the airport, she summoned Japanese police and refused to board the flight to Minsk via Istanbul.
An activist group supporting her said she feared for her life in Belarus and planned to seek asylum with the Austrian Embassy.
Poland has also offered her a humanitarian visa, with Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz saying she is "free to pursue her sporting career in Poland if she so chooses".
In a message on social media, Tsimanouskaya said: "I was put under pressure and (Belarus team officials) are trying to forcibly take me out of the country without my consent."
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Belarus Olympic Committee said Tsimanouskaya was removed from the Games because of her "emotional and psychological state".
It said: "According to doctors, due to the emotional and psychological state of the Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, the coaching staff of the national athletics team decided to stop the performance of the athlete at the XXXII Olympics.
"Consequently, the athlete's application for participation in qualifying races at 200m and in the 4x400m relay was recalled."