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Two Belarusian officials stripped of accreditation at Tokyo Olympics, booted from village

i24NEWS

clock 2 min read

Belarusian Olympic athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya poses during a press conference on August 5, 2021 in Warsaw, one day after her arrival in Poland.
WOJTEK RADWANSKI / AFPBelarusian Olympic athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya poses during a press conference on August 5, 2021 in Warsaw, one day after her arrival in Poland.

Yury Maisevich and Artur Shimak 'will be offered an opportunity to be heard' in probe by Olympic committee

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped two Belarusian team officials of their accreditations over an alleged attempt to force sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya to return home to Belarus, the organization said on Friday.

The IOC launched an investigation into the incident and the role of the two, head coach Artur Shimak and team official Yury Maisevich. The pair also left the Olympic village after being asked.

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The IOC said that Maisevich and Shimak “will be offered an opportunity to be heard” in the investigation. The measures against them were taken "in the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes” from the Belarus team still in Tokyo.

Tsimanouskaya, who has fled to Poland after landing in Austria, said she feared for her life if she were to return to Belarus. On Sunday, she sought the assistance of Tokyo officials as she said team Belarus officials tried to force her on a plane back home.

Earlier, she posted a tirade about her coaches on social media, blasting them for forcing her to race in an event she had not prepared for.

She spent two nights at the Polish embassy, and has said that she was “just thinking about her sporting career,” not trying to make a political statement. 

Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko has become increasingly isolated after being accused of rigging elections internationally and by domestic opponents, as well as a brutal crackdown on dissidents.