July 5, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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The Belarusian athlete said she had to return home and feared for her life

The Belarusian athlete said she had to return home and feared for her life

A group of activists supporting Simanouskaya believed the athlete’s life was in danger in Belarus and applied for asylum at the Austrian embassy in Tokyo.

Simanowskaya said in a video message posted on social media that she found herself Under pressure Through his team leaders and with the help of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

I was under pressure and they tried to force me to leave the country without my permission, Said the 24-year-old sprinter.

Simanowskaya, who is scheduled to compete in the women’s 200m prelims on Monday, criticized Belarus team leaders on her Instagram account. Although she entered the 4x400m relay she never competed in that event.

The Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation (BSSF) said government supporters had targeted the athlete and had approached the foundation to prevent his forced return to Minsk.

The campaign is intense and a clear sign that his life is in danger in Belarus , Activist Group spokesman Alexander Opekin said in an interview with the Associated Press. Simanowskaya contacted Japanese police at Haneda Airport and she did not board the flight to Istanbul.

State Department officials arrived at the airport, Opekin said.

In a statement issued by BSSFSimanowskaya said he was at the police station on Monday morning.

I explained the situation to an officer, explaining how they had taken me out of the Olympic village, Simanowskaya said. I am now in a safe situation and trying to solve the problem of where I can spend the night.

The That is, Said those involved in the conflict with the Belarusian National Olympic Committee (CNOB) had intervened before the Tokyo Games.

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CIOs […] Investigated the situation and requested clarifications from the CNOBOlympic officials said in a statement.

The CNOB The dictatorial state president Alexander Lukashenko and his son Victor ruled for more than 25 years.

Both Lukashenko were banned from the Tokyo Games That is Investigating complaints made by athletes as victims Revenge and intimidation for performing last August After the presidential election.

A representative for CNOB The request for comment was not immediately responded to.

Simanowskaya was evacuated to a safe place and plans to take refuge at the Austrian embassy, ​​Opekin said.

Simanowskaya finished fourth in his heat in the 100m prelims on Friday and did not reach the semi-finals.