Athlete Kristina Timanovskaya said in a short video posted on social media: “I have been pressured and they are trying to force me out of the country without my consent. I ask the IOC to intervene.”
According to Anatol Kotau of the Belarus Sports Solidarity Foundation, Timnovskaya was told she would no longer be able to compete for Belarus and would have to return to her capital, Minsk, immediately. The group represents Belarusian athletes repressed by the Belarusian authorities.
Kotau, who is in direct contact with Timanovskaya, said that on Sunday at around 3:00 pm local time (2:00 pm), representatives of the Belarus national team came to the Olympic Village and asked them to “pack their things”. It was decided for him to return to Minsk.”
Timnovskaya is currently at the Haneda International Airport police station, Kotau told CNN over the phone. Kotau said the athlete was to depart for Tokyo at 10:50 pm on flight TK0199 for Istanbul.
Kotau said that as soon as Timnovskaya arrived at the airport, she contacted a Japanese police officer and said she wanted to apply for political asylum.
The Belarusian National Olympic Committee said on Sunday that Timnovskaya had been pulled out of the Games because of her “emotional and psychological condition”.
“According to the conclusion of the doctors, due to the emotional and psychological state of Belarusian track and field athlete Kristina Timanovskaya, the coaching staff of the national track and field team decided to stop the athlete’s performance at the XXXII Olympic Games,” the committee wrote on its Facebook page. But said in a statement.
Therefore, the athlete’s application for participation in the qualifying races in the 200 m and 4×400 m relay is withdrawn.
In an Instagram post on Friday 30 July, Timnovskaya said she had been included on a list to compete in the 4x400m relay without her consent.
“I would never in my life start reacting so harshly if they came up to me in advance, explained the situation and found out if I could run 400 meters and I was ready? But they followed my back despite the fact Decided to do everything I tried to find out this information but was simply ignored,” she wrote.
The IOC said in a statement to CNN: “The IOC has seen reports in the media, is looking into the situation and has sought clarification from the NOC (National Olympic Committee of Belarus).”
CNN has reached out to Timanovskaya herself, the Belarusian national Olympic team and the Belarusian embassy in Tokyo for more information, but has not received a response.