Two young Belarusian cross country skiers, Darya Dolidovich and Sviatlana Andriuk, were virtually banned from international competitions by their country’s authorities, Darya’s father alleged on Wednesday, condemning the political decision.
Darya Dolidovich and Sviatlana Andriuk looked at their FIS code, which allows them to participate in international competitions, deactivated by the Belarusian Ski Federation, 17-year-old Darya’s father and coach Sergei Dolidovich told AFP.
He explained that “no one can explain why Switzerland and Darya are victims of this situation”, adding that young women did not take part in the historic demonstrations in Belarus in 2020 or sign an open letter calling for free elections. Nearly 2,000 other athletes, too.
“We are in consultation with the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the National Olympic Committee (Belarusian) to understand the situation,” the International Olympic Committee’s communication service, which spoke for the first time on the case, told AFP.
Many players have been targeted over the past two years by retaliation from the Alexander Lukashenko regime for genuine or dubious support for the protest movement that toppled Belarus in 2020.
Sviatlana Andryiuk, 22, alleged that “she had to go to Russia for training camp and then to the World Cup in Finland, but they literally got her off the plane and told her she was not going anywhere.”
Darya, she was excluded from the junior training camp of the Belarusian Federation and therefore from any competition.
According to her father, the young woman was a victim of her own political commitment: “I never hid my political status. I have expressed it in the media and in personal conversations. I have always said that the country needs change, ”he explained, adding that he had changed unnecessarily in the spring.
“I want to play sports and I am training now. I wanted to be selected for the European Youth Olympic Days in Finland. Of course, I was disappointed, “said Darya, referring to her father’s comments.
“I really want to train and compete, maybe I will succeed in one way or another. But I do not want to compete for this country in the future,” she added.
Sergei Dolidovich, for his part, blamed the “absurd” situation. “We live and train at our own expense, we ask for nothing, and now we miss the opportunity to compete,” he said, not answering his requests for explanations from the Belarusian Federation. .
The second penalty skier, Sviatlana Andriuk, was not immediately available.
At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Belarusian athlete Kristina Simanoskaya, 24, expressed fears that she would be forcibly deported for criticizing her athletics federation.
She had to end her partnership and was placed in custody before obtaining a humanitarian visa granted by Poland.