Kristina Timanovskaya: two Belarusian coaches deprived of their IOC accreditation and withdrawn from the Olympic village
Belarus head coach Yuri Moisevich and team manager Artur Shumak have been removed from the Tokyo Olympic Village and their accreditation for the Games has been revoked, the IOC said in a tweet on Friday.
The Olympic body declared that it had decided to withdraw the two coaches in order to safeguard “the well-being of the athletes of the Belarusian NOC who are still in Tokyo and on a provisional basis”.
The athlete was scheduled to compete in the women’s 200-meter on Monday, but was removed from the event after criticizing social media over the decision by team officials to enter her in the 4×400-meter relay – an event she had failed to attend. never participated before.
Following the incident, the IOC opened a formal investigation and set up a disciplinary commission to clarify the role that the two Belarusian coaches allegedly played.
“Both coaches were asked to leave the Olympic Village immediately and did so. They will be offered the opportunity to be heard,” said the IOC.
CNN has contacted the Belarusian national team for comment.
The Belarusian National Olympic Committee said Timanovskaya was withdrawn from the Games due to her “emotional and psychological state”, a claim refuted by the athlete.
Speaking at a press conference from Warsaw on Thursday, Timanovskaya said she was “very saddened that I was deprived of my chance to participate in the Olympics”.
“We tried to overturn this decision so that I could still participate,” she said. “It was five long years of preparation. I had to go through a lot – trauma, Covid… but still I hope these weren’t my last Olympics, I hope at least two more.”
“She said maybe I would end up in hospital or in jail,” if she were to come back, Timanovskaya said.
Fearing that she would be in danger if she returned, Timanovskaya reported a policeman at the airport and told him that she needed help. After two days of seeking refuge at the Polish Embassy in Tokyo, Timanovskaya flew to Warsaw via Vienna, where she met her husband.
Now she is seeking asylum for herself and her husband in Poland, where she awaits an IOC hearing on her case.
Regarding the hearing, Belarusian opposition politician Pavel Latushkosaid told the press conference in Warsaw, the sprinter’s interests are represented by a lawyer from Japan and the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation.
“We do not know whether the Belarusian National Olympic Games Committee presented the necessary material, which also complicates the examination of this issue,” said Latushko. “We expect the decision to be made in Kristina’s favor over the illegitimacy of the decision taken by the Belarusian delegation.”
The sprinter received offers of asylum from several European countries but chose Poland because it was close enough for her parents to visit, and because she wants to stay in the sport and continue her career there. , she said.
CNN’s Hannah Ritchie, Jaide Garcia, Katya Krebs, Taylor Barnes and Sara Turnbull contributed reporting.