Timanowskaja left Tokyo for Vienna | free press


Tokyo / Vienna (dpa) – Belarusian athlete Kristina Timanowskaja changed her plans at the last minute when she left Tokyo. The 24-year-old sprinter flew to Vienna instead of Warsaw, the Austrian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

She was expected at Vienna airport in the afternoon. Apparently she was only going to make a short stopover there. “According to our information, Ms. Timanowskaja will fly on to Warsaw today,” a spokesman for the Vienna Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. You will be accompanied in the transit area by representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to the Russian state agency Tass, the decision was taken by the Polish embassy because several foreign journalists had booked a place on the original flight. At first it was not clear whether Timanovskaya wanted to travel to Austria or just make a stopover.

The Olympic scandal surrounding the athlete has consequences. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has set up a disciplinary committee to investigate the matter. This should prove the facts in the case of the athlete’s alleged kidnapping from Japan by Belarusian authorities, an International Olympic Committee spokesman said on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old had previously received a humanitarian visa from Poland. The Polish government assured her that she could continue her sports career there. “As far as I know she is on her way to Poland,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.

According to the athlete, Belarusian authorities wanted to force her to return to Minsk early on Sunday because she criticized sports officials. Timanovskaya turned to Japanese police at Haneda Airport and refused the return flight.

The IOC Disciplinary Committee should now focus on the Belarus (Belarus) athletics head coach and the deputy director of the national training center. The two officials are said to have informed Timanovskaya that she had to return to her homeland early because of her criticism of the top team’s decisions on social media.

Timanovskaya had said that the “picture” was not about politics. “I only criticized the fact that our head coaches chose the relay team without consulting the athletes,” she said. “I never thought it could reach such proportions and become a political scandal.”

Meanwhile, other athletes from Belarus do not want to return to their homeland. Jana Maximowa wrote on Instagram that she and her husband, the athlete Andrei Kravchenko, wanted to live in Germany. In Belarus you could lose your freedom and your life. “Here’s the chance to take a deep breath and be part of those fighting for the freedom of their people, their friends, relatives and loved ones,” she captioned a photo with her child.

The coach of the handball team “Vityas” in Minsk, Konstantin Yakowlev, also fled Belarus. He told Ukrainian news channel Ukrajina 24 that he was in Kiev for the second day. The Independent Sports Association activist was jailed for 15 days for intending to hold open workouts. These are considered “political gatherings” by the Belarusian authorities.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki sharply attacked Belarusian leaders around ruler Alexander Lukashenko. He demanded that the “aggression of the Belarusian security services on Japanese soil” would be met with “resolute resistance from the international community”.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) criticized the Belarusian government as politically and morally bankrupt. Sports alliances such as Athleten Germany and Global Athlete campaigned for a ban on the Belarus Olympic Committee.

A decision on possible IOC sanctions during the Tokyo Games seems unlikely. ‚ÄúThese things take time. We need to get to the bottom of the matter,” IOC spokesman Adams said on Tuesday.

Belarus’ NOK has been out of favor with the IOC for some time. The ruler Lukashenko, who also led the NOK for a long time, and his son Viktor, who is now the head of the association, were banned from all Olympic activities, including the Tokyo Games. The NOK leadership around the Lukashenkos did not adequately protect athletes from political discrimination within the country’s sports organizations, IOC chief Thomas Bach justified the sanctions last December. All financial donations to the NOK of Belarus have also been suspended for the time being.