At the Tokyo Olympic Stadium in August, with extremely high heat and humidity that stirs and shakes the rain, the first series of the women’s 200m are played early, at 10.30, with the sun burning. Sports journalists, all attentive, to Elaine Thompson, the 100m champion who seeks to repeat the double victory of the Rio Games in the 100m and 200m and establish herself as the only one in Olympic history, do not even notice the absence of the Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, who participated in the 100m event on Friday and was eliminated in the first series, just won by the Nigerian Blessing Okagbare a few hours before being expelled from the Games for doping. But the loss of the Belarusian that nobody notices is not due to a case of doping or an injury, but to a case of flagrant violation of the consideration of the Olympic Village as a sanctuary for athletes in which neither politics nor religion they have the right to intervene.
It is the Reuters agency that launches the alert. Tsimanouskaya is no longer in the Olympic Village, but stayed first at Haneda airport, in Tokyo, where, she denounces through her Telegram and Instagram, she has been forcibly transferred by the leaders of the Belarusian Olympic Committee ( COB), for having publicly criticized those responsible for the athletics team. According to the athlete’s account to the British agency, the leaders of the Olympic committee, whose president is Viktor Lukashenko, son of the president’s dictator of the republic, forced her to leave her room in the Olympic Village at five in the morning last Sunday. , and they tried to force her to take a plane back to her country. But she refused to fly and alerted the Japanese police, who protected her. “I will not return to Belarus,” she said via Telegram, and at the same time requested political asylum in the country that wanted to host her.
Just 24 hours later, and after tremendous agitation and mobilization by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), opposition parties in Japan and the Belarusian sports solidarity foundation, the athlete left the airport, accompanied by some officials from the organizing committee of the Games and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and went to the Polish embassy in Tokyo, which welcomed her. “We have asked for help from many countries,” says a spokesman for the foundation. “And the first to respond has been the Polish consulate.”
Almost simultaneously, the Ukrainian authorities reported that the athlete’s husband had entered the country. According to France Presse, Arseni Zhdanevich, as the man is called, announced to the Ukrainian authorities his intention to meet his wife in Poland.
In a statement, the COB said that the technicians had decided to withdraw Tsimanouskaya from the Games on the advice of the team’s doctors, who had appreciated that he was not in a good “emotional and psychological” condition.
The incident, which occurs when President Lukashenko, in power since 1994, faces a great social protest in the country, with strikes and demonstrations, recalls the terrible incident of the critical journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend, who were leaving Minsk on a Ryanair flight that the authorities forced to return to arrest the journalist.
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