Tokyo (AP) – Belarusian Olympic runner Kristina Timanovskaya is “safe and protected,” according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The athlete, who the opposition says is to be kidnapped from Tokyo by authoritarian authorities in her country, spent the night at a hotel at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in a “safe environment,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams. It is in the hands of the authorities, he said, but without giving details.
The NOK in their country has asked for a written report. One must first wait for the exact background and details of the incident.
Attempt to leave the country “by force”
The 24-year-old athlete said in a video published Sunday by the Belarusian opposition athlete association Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF) that she was flown out of Japan against her will after publicly criticizing Belarusian sports officials. The BSSF spoke of an attempted “violent” exit.
Adams was unable to provide information on how the athlete left the Olympic village and who was with her. At the airport, she turned to the Japanese police. Representatives from the IOC and the Japanese OK had spoken to her “directly” that evening. “She has assured us that she feels safe and protected,” the IOC spokesman said.
They spoke to her again on Monday and will continue to do so with the Japanese authorities “to determine the next step in the coming days”. They will continue to talk with Timanovskaya about what she is planning and will “support” her in her decision.
Timanovskaya denies mental health problems
The Belarus Olympic Committee (NOK) had previously stated on Telegram that the athlete had been examined by a doctor and would not participate in further competitions because of her “emotional and psychological state”.
Timanovskaya described this on Instagram as a “lie”. She told the radio station Euroradio: “You just told me to pack my things and fly home.”