Polish authorities have launched the asylum process for Belarusian track and field athlete Kristina Timanovskaya, who earlier refused an order to fly home from the Tokyo Olympic Games issued by her Belarusian coaches, the NHK TV channel reported on Monday, citing sources.
Timanovskaya has arrived at the Polish embassy in Japan, eyewitnesses told TASS.
On Sunday, Belarus’ National Olympic Committee announced that the national track and field team coaches had decided to send Timanovskaya back home due to her psychological condition, after she was put forward to take part in the 100m and 200m race events. Two Belarusian female runners were suspended from the 4x400 relay for failing to undergo the requisite number of doping tests and the coaches moved to engage Timanovskaya, who lashed out at the decision on her social media.
Belarus’ opposition Sports Solidarity Foundation said that Timanovskaya was being forced to leave Tokyo because of her criticism of the national track and field team’s coaches. The athlete told Euroradio that she intended to seek asylum in Europe. She also asked the International Olympic Committee for help via social media. According to the athlete, she is facing pressure and attempts to force her to leave Japan.