Tsimanouskaya, who has been granted a humanitarian visa by Poland, calls for an investigation into “who gave the order, who actually took the decision that I can’t compete anymore”.

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya enters the Polish embassy in Tokyo, Japan, August 2, 2021.
Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya enters the Polish embassy in Tokyo, Japan, August 2, 2021. (Reuters)

Belarus Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya hopes team managers responsible for her situation will be punished in some way by sports officials but doesn’t want anything done that would prevent Belarus from competing in the Olympic Games.

Tsimanouskaya, 24, had criticised how officials were managing her team. She said on her Instagram account that she was put in the 4x400 relay even though she has never raced in the event, after which Belarusian sports officials announced they were withdrawing her from the 200 metres and sending her home.

The runner was then apparently hustled to the airport but refused to board the flight and asked local police for help.

READ MORE: Belarus sprinter receives humanitarian visa to Poland

In an interview with the AP, Tsimanouskaya called for an investigation and “possibly taking sanctions against the head coach who approached me and who deprived me of the right to compete in the Olympic Games, or to investigate the situation, who gave the order, who actually took the decision that I can’t compete anymore”.

At the same time, she said that “the athletes aren’t guilty of anything and they should keep competing and I don’t think there should be any sanctions against the athletes”.

Tsimanouskaya said on Tuesday that officials from her country “made it clear” she would face punishment if she returned to Belarus.

Poland granted Tsimanouskaya a visa on Monday, and she expects to fly to Warsaw on Wednesday.

Belarus’ authoritarian government has relentlessly targeted anyone even mildly expressing dissent since a presidential election a year ago triggered a wave of unprecedented mass protests. And it has also gone to extremes to stop its critics, including recently diverting a plane to the capital of Minsk and arresting a dissident journalist aboard.

IOC to probe Belarus officials 

Olympic officials said on Tuesday they will investigate Belarus over claims the team tried to force the athlete to return home.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday accused Belarus of an "act of transnational repression" over the alleged attempt to force her home.

Tsimanouskaya's husband Arseny Zdanevich told AFP he had fle d Belarus and was hoping to join his wife "in the near future".

"I believe it would not be safe for me to be there," the 25-year-old fitness trainer said by phone from Ukraine.

READ MORE: Belarus sprinter receives humanitarian visa to Poland

Source: AP