Saturday, September 18, 2021

Belarus Olympian seeking asylum in Poland after refusing 'forced' flight home

  • Aug 02, 2021
  • Author: QT-Online
  • Number of views: 1857
  • Top News
A sprinter from Belarus who refused her team's order to fly home early from the Olympics is seeking asylum in Poland, activists say.
Krystina Timanovskaya spent the night secured in a hotel under protection from Japanese police, after saying she was forcibly taken to the airport for criticising coaches.
She voiced fears for her safety if she were to be returned to her country.
Belarus says she was removed from the team because of her emotional state.
Ms Timanovskaya, 24, was pictured entering the Polish embassy in Tokyo on Monday after arriving in an unmarked silver van. An opposition group which helps athletes in Belarus told the BBC that Ms Timanovskaya was seeking asylum in Poland.
The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation was created last year to support athletes during the nationwide protests over the disputed re-election of long-time President Alexander Lukashenko.
The country's security forces have carried out a brutal crack down on dissent. Some of those who joined the demonstrations were also national-level athletes, who were stripped of funding, cut from national teams and detained.