Two Belarusian officials involved in trying to force sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya to return to Minsk against her will have been sent home from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after having their accreditations revoked.
Belarus athletics head coach Yuri Moisevich and team official Artur Shumak “were requested to leave the Olympic Village immediately and have done so”, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement.
A Disciplinary Commission has been established by the IOC to investigate the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus’ (NOCRB) involvement in Tsimanouskaya being ordered to leave the Japanese capital after she criticised Belarusian coaches on social media.
“In the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes of the NOC of Belarus who are still in Tokyo and as a provisional measure, the IOC cancelled and removed last night the accreditations of the two coaches, Mr A. Shimak and Mr Y. Maisevich,” the IOC said.
“They will be offered an opportunity to be heard.”
The IOC had claimed it had taken swift action in the case, which had sparked global concern for Tsimanouskaya, but it took the organisation four days to remove the officials from the Village.
Tsimanouskaya, who has arrived in Warsaw after being granted a humanitarian visa by Poland, alleged Belarusian officials had attempted to “forcibly take me out of the country without my consent”.
Speaking at a press conference in Poland, Tsimanouskaya said the order to send her home had come from “high up”.
“Grandmother called me when they were already driving me to the airport,” Tsimanouskaya said.
“I had some 10 seconds.
“She called me, all that she told me was, ‘Please do not come back to Belarus, it’s not safe.”
Tsimanouskaya was forced to miss her 200 metres race here on Monday (August 2).
The sprinter filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the NOCRB’s decision not to let her compete in the race, but the CAS said she “was not able to prove her case to get an interim relief”.
The NOCRB had claimed in a statement the “coaching staff of the Belarusian national athletics team made a decision to withdraw Krystsina Tsimanouskaya from the Olympic Games, according to the doctor’s report on her mental and emotional state”.
The NOCRB has been hit with several sanctions by the IOC, but some have claimed they do not go far enough.
NOCRB President Viktor Lukashenko is banned from attending Tokyo 2020, as is his father and former NOCRB head, Alexander Lukashenko, controversially re-elected as President of Belarus last year in elections widely dismissed as neither free or fair.
The IOC banned both men after finding they had politically discriminated towards athletes, some of whom were imprisoned for taking part in anti-Government protests.