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Belarus Sprinter Tsimanouskaya Fears It Will Be Five Or 10 Years Before She Can Go Home

by : Daniel Richardson on : 04 Aug 2021 15:19
Belarus Sprinter Tsimanouskaya Fears It Will Be Five Or 10 Years Before She Can Go HomeAP/PA Images

Belarus sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has discussed her situation as she heads to Poland on a humanitarian visa.

Many have been shocked by the situation that sprinter Tsimanouskaya has found herself in. After criticising the staff that supports her, she is now concerned about what will happen to her if she returns to her country.

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Belarus is currently experiencing unrest as people protest against the autocratic Belarusian government and President Alexander Lukashenko, while many believe the country rigged its election. Additionally, the Olympic Committee in Belarus has been criticised for not protecting its athletes who have protested.

Krystsina of Belarus (PA)PA Images

Tsimanouskaya has now discussed her situation with BBC News, and noted that she was surprised by what happened because she ‘didn’t say anything political’. Despite this, the Belarus coaching team tried to forcibly make her return home on a plane earlier this week.

The athlete added that she will return home ‘when I know that it’s safe… maybe I’ll only be able to return after five or 10 years’. On the back of this high-profile incident that has seen the athlete travel to Warsaw, via Vienna, an investigation is taking place.

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched a formal investigation into allegations that Belarus attempted to force Timanovskaya to return home. IOC spokesman Mark Adams has said, ‘We need to establish the full facts, that can take time. In the meantime, our first concern is for the athlete.’

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya (PA)PA Images

Arseniy Zdanevich, Tsimanouskaya’s husband, has now fled Belarus and is currently in Ukraine. Discussing the ongoing situation, he claimed they were not political and would return to their home country as long as they did not face criminal charges.

While the situation continues, the EU has welcomed the decision to allow Tsimanouskaya to stay in Poland on a visa. Nabila Massrali, a spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, said this is ‘another example of the brutality of the repression of Lukashenko’s regime’.

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As per Reuters, Massrali added:

We express our full solidarity to Krystina Timanovskaya and commend the [EU] member states that offered her support. We welcome the fact that she has now been given a humanitarian visa by Poland.

Team coach Yuri Moisevich has denied any wrongdoing and the Belarusian Olympic committee claimed that it tried to return the athlete home because of her ’emotional and psychological condition’.

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. These included the likes of The Hook, WhatCulture and Game Rant. Eventually, Dan found a home for his journalism at UNILAD.

Topics: News, Belarus, Now, Olympics

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BBC News
  1. BBC News

    Belarus sprinter Krystina Timanovskaya flies out of Japan