Belarus runner refuses to leave Tokyo

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The Belarusian sprinter refused to board a flight to leave Tokyo on Sunday (1/8) after being taken to the airport by force by his team. The incident came after he complained about the national coaching staff at the Olympics.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, asked for protection from Japanese police at Haneda airport Sunday (1/8) night. On Monday (2/8) morning, Japanese MP Taiga Ishikawa tried to visit him at the airport, but police said he was no longer there.

Ishikawa, an upper house lawmaker in opposition to the government, told Reuters that the police refused to tell where the athlete was. Police made no comment to the reporters, who had waited all night and did not see Tsimanouskaya leave the premises.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier said it had spoken to Tsimanouskaya and that she was accompanied by a Tokyo 2020 staff member at the airport.

“He told us he felt safe,” the IOC quipped.

He added that the IOC and Tokyo 2020 would continue talks with Tsimanouskaya and the authorities “to determine the next steps in the coming days.” [vm/ft]

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