Belarusian sprinter lands in Vienna en route to Warsaw

(Update 3: adds info on layover in Vienna)

Vienna/Tokyo, Aug 4 (EFE).- Belarusian Olympian Krystsina Tsymanouskaya on Wednesday landed in Vienna during a layover on her planned trip from Tokyo to Warsaw, the Austrian foreign ministry confirmed to national news agency APA.

After landing at 15:08 local time (13:08 GMT) on Austrian Airlines (AUA) flight OS 052, the 24-year-old sprinter was taken in a van with a police escort to an isolated transit area, as witnessed by an Efe reporter on the ground.

She was met by Austrian state secretary Magnus Brunner at a VIP lounge.

“For us, the top priority is that Kristina Timanovskaya is now safe. That is the bottom line,” Austrain foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg, said in a statement sent to the local APA agency.

The 24-year-old sprinter on Sunday sought protection from police at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport after she said Belarusian team officials planned to transfer her to the airport to be sent back to Belarus against her will.

She requested diplomatic protection at the Polish embassy in Tokyo and has been offered a humanitarian visa for the country. She is expected to land in the Polish capital later on Wednesday.

Poland, which supports Belarusian political refugees and the democratic opposition to President Aleksander Lukashenko’s regime, was the first to offer asylum to the Olympic athlete.

Pavel Latushka, head of the Belarusian opposition group National Anti-Crisis Management, tweeted Tuesday night: “Feeling excited to meet Krystsina Tsimanouskaya tomorrow at Warsaw Chopin airport.”

Polish Ambassador to Japan Pawel Milewski tweeted Tuesday that Tsymanouskaya was “doing well and thanks us all for extending a helping hand against those who do not wish her well.”

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