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International Olympic Committee Suspends Two Belarus Coaches Over Krystina Timanovskaya Case

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International Olympic Committee Suspends Two Belarus Coaches Over Krystina Timanovskaya Case

Two Belarussian coaches have been stripped of their accreditation by the International Olympic Committee after they allegedly tried to force one of their athletes to leave Tokyo.

An investigation into Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich and the IOC has confirmed that the pair have both left the Olympic Village.

The investigation pertains to claims made by sprinter Krystina Timanovskaya, who refused her team's orders to return back to Belarus after competing, and has now been granted a humanitarian visa by Poland, where she is currently staying.

Belarus said that Ms Timanovskaya was taken out of the national team because of her 'emotional state', which the 24-year-old denies.

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She says that she was removed from the team because she used her Instagram to talk about the 'negligence of [her] coaches'.

Credit: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto/Shutterstock
Credit: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

This latest incident once again shines a light on Belarus, where President Alexander Lukashenko has been in charge since 1994.

The authoritarian ruler violently quashed nationwide protests against his re-election.

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In a statement, the IOC said that they'd taken the two coaches' accreditation away 'as a provisional measure' that was taken 'in the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus who are still in Tokyo'.

Thomas Bach, the IOC President, described Ms Timanovskaya's treatment as 'deplorable', but said that he was 'happy' she had arrived safely in Poland.

She was removed from the team because she had complained about being asked to compete in the 4x400 metre relay race at very short notice, after some of her teammates were discovered to be ineligible.

She was then heavily criticised for a perceived lack of team spirit on the Belarussian national broadcaster.

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Timanovskaya says that she was then visited in her room by two coaches who told her to pack up and leave immediately, and told to pretend that she was injured.

Credit: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto/Shutterstock
Credit: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

She was also told by her grandmother that it would not be safe to return to the country after seeing local news reports on her.

Once at the airport she showed a translated plea for help to officers to save herself from being put on the plane back to Belarus.

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She left for Poland on Wednesday after a period of police protection and a stay at the Polish embassy in Japan.

Despite this, she insists that she is 'not a political girl' and only wanted to focus on her events.

Her husband has also fled Belarus to Poland, but some of her family remain in the country.

Featured Image Credit: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Topics: SPORT, World News, olympics, Politics

Tom Wood
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