Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-08-05 12:20:41 –
Warsaw, Poland (AP) —Fearing retaliation for returning home after publicly criticizing the coach at the Tokyo Olympics, Belarus’ Olympic sprinter seeks help with quick thinking, translates the petition over the phone and avoids it I showed it to the Japanese police. I’m being pushed into an airplane.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya explained Thursday about the dramatic series of events at the Olympic Games: She decided not to return to Belarus, Where the authoritarian government has relentlessly pursued its critics. She fled to Poland instead, Arrived on wednesday..
After posting a message on social media criticizing how her team is managed, Tsimanouskaya said she was told to pack her bag. A team official told her she was injured and had to go home early.
On her way to the airport, she briefly spoke to her grandmother. Grandmother explained in the Belarusian media that there was a massive backlash against her, including reports that she was mentally ill. She said her grandmother advised not to return to her. Her parents suggested she could go to Poland.
At the airport, she sought help from the police and used Google Translate to convey her plea in Japanese. At first, they didn’t understand, and Belarusian officials asked what was happening. She insisted that she had to forget something and go home in the Olympic Village. Police eventually took her out of Belarusian authorities.
As the drama unfolded, European countries offered to help her, and the runner arrived at the Polish embassy where she received a humanitarian visa. Many Belarusian activists have fled to Poland to avoid a brutal crackdown on the government’s objections by President Alexander Lukashenko.
“I was relieved to see athlete Christina Zimanoskaya arrive safely in Poland,” said Josep Borrell, head of foreign policy in the European Union. The country was invaded by the actions of the Lukashenko administration and the truce of the Olympic Games. “
At a press conference in Warsaw on Thursday, Zimanuskaya thanked the people who supported her during the standoffs.
“It was all over the world, and these people make me much stronger,” she said. She added that she now feels safe.
She also had a message to her fellow Belarusians.
“I want to tell all Belarusians not to be afraid. If they are under pressure, I want to speak up,” said Lanna, who spoke in both English and Russian at the press conference.
Still, she expressed concern about the safety of her family in her hometown. Her husband, Arseni Zudanevic, fled Belarus this week shortly after his wife said she wouldn’t come back. Poland also gave him a visa.
The event attracted more attention to Belarus’ uncompromising authoritarian government. Authorities responded with a thorough crackdown when the country was upset by months of protests after the election that gave Lukashenko the sixth term, but the opposition and the West considered it fraudulent. About 35,000 people were arrested and thousands of demonstrators were beaten. The government is also targeting independent media and opposition figures.
Belarusian authorities arrested dissident journalists in May, directing a jet airliner to the capital of Minsk, as a sign that authorities were trying to silence critics.
Tsimanouskaya’s criticism was aimed at team officials, but her rebellion may not be in harmony with the political office. Lukashenko, who headed the National Olympic Committee in Belarus for about a quarter of a century, has a keen interest in sports before handing over to his son in February and sees sports as an important element of national fame. ..
However, Zimanoskaya claimed that she was not a political activist and did not intend to flee Belarus, but only wanted to attend her favorite event at the Olympics. The standoffs began after she complained that she would be competing in a race she had never participated in.
Zimanuskaya called for an investigation into what had happened and said the International Olympic Committee had opened a disciplinary case “to prove the facts” in her case.
A major opposition challenger to Lukashenko in the disputed elections last August said the Zimanuskaya case showed the length his government would go.
“The current message is that even if you’re not involved in the opposition movement or haven’t participated in the demonstration, you’re disloyal to the administration and under attack because you disagree with the action,” Sviatlana said. He told the Associated Press in an interview with Tsikhanouskaya AP.
The 24-year-old runner said he wasn’t thinking of seeking political asylum and wanted to go home someday when it was safe. She also said she wanted to quickly understand how she could continue her career. She said she would talk to Polish authorities about her next steps on Friday.
“I just wanted to go to the Olympics. That was my dream,” she said. “I still hope this wasn’t the last Olympics in my life.”
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Litvinova reported from Moscow.
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