International

Belarus sprinter wants investigation into team officials

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, of Belarus, runs in the women's 100-meter run at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021. Tsimanouskaya alleged her Olympic team tried to remove her from Japan in a dispute that led to a standoff Sunday, Aug. 1, at Tokyo’s main airport. An activist group supporting Tsimanouskaya said she believed her life was in danger in Belarus and would seek asylum with the Austrian embassy in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

MOSCOW (AP) — Belarus Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has told the AP in a video interview that she hopes team managers responsible will be punished in some way by sports officials but doesn’t want anything done that would prevent Belarus from competing in the Olympic Games.

Tsimanouskaya, 24, criticized how officials were managing her team. She said on her Instagram account that she was put in the 4×400 relay even though she has never raced in the event, after which Belarusian sports officials announced they were withdrawing her from the 200 meters and sending her home.

The runner was then apparently hustled to the airport but refused to board the flight and asked local police for help.

In an interview with the AP, Tsimanouskaya called for an investigation and “possibly taking sanctions against the head coach who approached me and who deprived me of the right to compete in the Olympic Games, or to investigate the situation, who gave the order, who actually took the decision that I can’t compete any more.”

At the same time, she said that “the athletes aren’t guilty of anything and they should keep competing and I don’t think there should be any sanctions against the athletes.”

Poland granted Tsimanouskaya a visa Monday, and she expects to fly to Warsaw on Wednesday.

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