Krystina Timanovskaya, 24, who refused her team’s order to fly home early from the Olympics has been granted a humanitarian visa by Poland. She said she was forcibly taken to the airport for criticising coaches. The sprinter, who was due to compete in the women’s 200m event on Monday, had complained on social media about being entered into the 4x400m relay race at short notice after some teammates were found to be ineligible to compete. She says she was “put under pressure” by team officials to return home and asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for help. The Belarusian Olympic committee said Ms Timanovskaya had been taken off the team because of her “emotional and psychological condition”.
Krystina is now at the Polish embassy in Tokyo after spending the night secured in a hotel under protection from Japanese police. Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said Ms Timanovskaya was in direct contact with Polish diplomats in Tokyo, and that Poland would do “whatever is necessary to help her continue her sporting career”. Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia researcher, said the country’s sporting administration had been subject to “direct government control” under President Lukashenko.