Belarus sprinter Tsymanouskaya concerned about safety of relatives

Krakow, Poland, Aug 5 (EFE).- Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsymanouskaya said Tuesday in Warsaw that she is worried about the safety of her relatives after she avoided being forced to leave the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by Belarus Olympic officials.

The athlete, who arrived in Poland on Wednesday, said she spoke with her parents and they told her they were fine.

Tsymanouskaya said her husband and herself will soon make a decision over how long they will stay in Poland.

The sprinter was competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but was to be sent back to Belarus over her “emotional, psychological state” after she complained about flawed management of Belarusian sporting authorities.

Tsymanouskaya claims she feared reprisals by Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, having previously shown support to the country’s democratic opposition, and sought help from Japanese authorities and the International Olympic Committee before she could be taken back to Belarus.

“I am ready to extend help to any person who is in a similar situation to mine or who wishes to leave Belarus,” she said, encouraging any fellow citizens who are being harassed by Minsk authorities to speak out about their circumstances and to come to her for support.

Warsaw has granted her and her husband Arseniy Zdanevich a humanitarian visa.

The Polish government claims it has accepted over 300 political asylum applications from Belarusian citizens so far in 2021, with a legal protection and financial assistance programme for Belarusian migrants.

Tsymanouskaya said she has received a lot of support and that she hopes she can continue training and competing, as well as participating in future Olympic Games.

“I would have never imagined that something like that could happen, and I’m definitely very emotional and nervous these days, but I am sure that better days are still ahead,” she said. EFE


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