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A Belarusian Olympic sprinter claims she was 'kidnapped' and taken to the airport to be flown back home after she complained about her team officials.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was due to compete in the 200m Olympic heats when Belarusian representatives came to her hotel room the night before and took her straight to Tokyo's Haneda airport by force.
She refused to get on the plane and is now seeking asylum in either Germany or Austria to avoid going back to her native country.
"It's been reported that Kryscina Tsimanouskaya, who publicly criticised the regime and sports officials, is being sent from Tokyo back to Belarus," Minsk-based journalist Hanna Liubakova tweeted.
"Apparently, representatives of the Belarusian national team took her to the airport. It looks like kidnapping."
Liubakova also posted leaked audio of the damning conversation between Belarus head coach Yuri Maisevich and Tsimanouskaya where the sprinter breaks down in tears after being threatened.
It's understood Tsimanouskaya is now 'safe' in Japanese police custody, telling Reuters in a Telegram message: "I will not return to Belarus.
"They are trying to get me out of the country without my permission. I am asking the IOC to get involved."
It seems Belarusian coaches weren't too happy when Tsimanouskaya took to social media to complain that she was entered into the 4x400m relay race, despite some of her team members being found ineligible to compete at the Olympics because they had not undergone a sufficient amount of performance enhancing drug tests.
"Some of our girls did not fly here to compete in the 4x400m relay because they didn't have enough doping tests," Tsimanouskaya told Reuters.
"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."
This clearly didn't sit well with Belarusian officials, who have now launched a 'you are a disgrace to the nation' campaign against her.
According to Tsimanouskaya herself, she is now afraid of returning home to her native country.
Under the leadership of Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, Belarus is currently in political turmoil with The New York Times branding the country's president as 'Europe's last dictator'.
Poland was the first to offer asylum to Tsimanouskaya, according to the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation.
The Belarus Olympic Team have denied these allegations, insisting she was taken off the team because of her 'emotional and psychological condition'.
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