Great Britain

Belarusian Olympic athlete ‘ordered to return home against her wishes after complaining about coaches’

An Olympic athlete from Belarus has said she was ordered to return home after publicly criticising her coaches on social media.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said she was taken to the airport before she was able to compete in the 200 metres and 4x400 metres relay on Thursday. She had been able to compete in the first round of the 100m but did not qualify for the next race.

The BBC and Reuters news agency reported that she had refused to board a plane home and had sought help from Japanese police at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

“I will not return to Belarus,” the 24-year-old sprinter told Reuters via Telegram.

Tsimanouskaya appealed for help from police and the IOC

The alleged incident occurred after Tsimanouskaya used her Instagram to complain about “the negligence of our coaches”, she said.

“Some of our girls did not fly here to compete in the 4x400 m relay because they didn't have enough doping tests,” she said.

“And the coach added me to the relay without my knowledge. I spoke about this publicly. The head coach came over to me and said there had been an order from above to remove me.”

Photos taken at the airport showed her speaking with police, but journalist Tadeusz Giczan posted on Twitter that she had not checked in for her flight on Sunday with Turkish Airlines.

Several self-recorded videos also showed her apparently appealing for help from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Independent contacted the Belarusian Olympic Committee and the IOC for comment.

Tokyo police declined a request to comment when approached by Reuters.

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