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Belarus’ Timanovskaya to seek asylum in Austria — newspaper

Belarusian athlete was being taken to a safe place
Kristina Timanovskaya EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO
Kristina Timanovskaya
© EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

TOKYO, Augusta 1. /TASS/. Belarusian track and field athlete Kristina Timanovskaya, who was to be sent back home from the Olympic Games under a decision of the Belarusian national team’s coaches, plans to seek asylum in Austria, the Tokyo Sport newspaper said on Sunday, citing its sources.

The Sports Hochi sports news outlet said earlier on Sunday citing a representative of an unnamed human rights organization that the Belarusian athlete was being taken to a safe place.

Belarus’ National Olympic Committee (NOC) said earlier on Sunday that the coaches of the national track and field team had decided to send Timanovskaya back home because of her psychological condition. She was supposed to take part in the 100m and 200m race events. Two Belarusian female runners were suspended from a 4x400 relay race due to insufficient number of doping samples and the coaches took a decision to engage Timanovskaya, who criticized the decision in social networks.

Earlier, Belarus’ opposition Sports Solidarity Fund said that Timanovskaya was allegedly forced to leave Tokyo because of her critical remarks in respect of the national track and field athletics coaches.

She told Euroradio she wants to seek asylum in Europe. Apart from that, she asked help from the International Olympic Committee via social networks. She claimed she was subject to pressure to leave Japan without her consent.

According to earlier reports, Timanovskaya was to take a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul. However, Turkish Airlines told TASS that no passengers under that name had checked-in for the flight. Meanwhile, the plane took off as scheduled, a Haneda airport spokesperson told TASS.