Inside Belarus’ totalitarian regime: Why an Olympic athlete was ordered not to return home.
A Belarussian Olympian was compelled to flee her homeland after her grandmother warned her that returning home from Japan would be dangerous.
Krystina Timanovskaya, a sprinter, was asked to leave the Tokyo Olympics earlier than scheduled owing to her “emotional state,” although she alleges she was dismissed from the squad for other reasons. Ms Timanovskaya, 24, claims that she was kicked from the Belarusian national squad for criticizing her trainers.
Her dismissal came after she complained on social media about being forced to compete in the 4x400m relay race after certain teammates were determined to be ineligible.
As a result, she was chastised by Belarussian state media at home, and her trainers told her to pack her belongings and say she had been hurt in public.
“I couldn’t believe [that my grandma would urge me not to come back]but I said, ‘Are you sure?’” Ms Timanovskaya told the BBC as she was traveling to the airport to return to Belarus.
‘Yes,’ she replied. I’m certain. “That was the reason I went to the police.” Trying to avoid being transported home, Ms Timanovskaya showed cops a translated plea for aid on her phone at the Tokyo airport.
She was then kidnapped from the airport and escorted to the Polish embassy in Tokyo, where she was granted police protection.
She arrived in Poland on Wednesday and is currently living there on a humanitarian visa.
Her husband has also left Belarus and been granted a visa to enter Poland, but her relatives remain in Belarus.
Ms Timanovskaya stated that she wished to return to Belarus and concentrate on her athletic career.
However, the precarious situation in Belarus, as the regime tightens its grip on the country, may force the sportsman to postpone his intentions.
Belarus has been in disarray for some time following its rigged election in 2020.
The flawed election brought President Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed “Europe’s last dictator,” to power, provoking widespread demonstrations and worldwide condemnation.
According to official numbers, Lukashenko received 80% of the vote, the same as in the previous election in 2010.
The improbable outcome sparked a never-before-seen backlash from the electorate.
Protests drew tens of thousands. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”