Brussels (Brussels Morning) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) revoked the accreditation of two Belarusian coaches linked the attempt to force the return home of a sprinter who had been critical of the Belarus team’s management in Tokyo.
The IOC announced on Friday it was revoking the accreditations of Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich, both of whom have reportedly accompanied the sprinter, Krystina Tsimanouskaya, to Tokyo airport on Sunday intent on making her board a plane home despite the fact that she was scheduled to compete in events on Monday and Tuesday.
Tsimanouskaya refused to board the plane and sought protection from Japanese authorities, who placed her in protective custody. Offered humanitarian visas by the Czech Republic and Poland, she sought refuge in the Polish embassy on Monday.
The sprinter arrived in Poland on Wednesday evening, where she was reunited with her husband, who had left Belarus for Ukraine while she was in the embassy in Tokyo. According to Tsimanouskaya, she was told by her coaches that they “received orders from above” to bring her back home, after she openly criticised their decision to enter her in the 4x400m relay, an event she neither trained for nor ever competed in.
Belarus coaches claimed they were taking her home “on doctors’ advice”, that she was experiencing problems with her “emotional and psychological state”. Tsimanouskaya maintains she was never examined by team doctors during her stay in Japan. The athlete also claimed that she was told she would suffer consequences for her openly critical remarks as soon as she returned home.
The IOC stated that the two coaches had their accreditations revoked in “the interest of the wellbeing of athletes” from Belarus who are still competing in the Tokyo Olympics. It also promised that the two would be given “an opportunity to be heard”.