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Czech Republic offers entry visa to Belarus’ Timanovskaya — foreign minister

The situation around Belarusian sprint athlete Kristina Timanovskaya is scandalous, Jakub Kulhanek said

PRAGUE, August 1. /TASS/. The Czech Republic has offered an entry visa to Belarusian athlete Kristina Timanovskaya, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek said on Sunday.

"I think the situation around Belarusian sprint athlete Kristina Timanovskaya is scandalous," he wrote on his Twitter account. "The Czech Republic is ready to help. Upon agreement with [Czech Prime Minister] Andrej Babis and [Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, we offer her a visa to enter our territory so that she could seek international protection. Our embassy in Tokyo is also ready to help her."

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.