Poland, Czechia offer asylum to Belarus Olympian

(Update 1: adds Poland, Czech Republic visa offer)

Kraków, Poland, Aug 2 (EFE).- Poland and the Czech Republic on Monday offered a humanitarian visa to Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsymanouskaya after she refused to board a flight from Tokyo to Belarus.

The athlete said she had been taken to the airport against her will and was being forced to abandon the Olympic Games early.

“Poland is ready to help Kryscina Tsimanouskaya, a Belarusian athlete ordered by the Lukashenka regime to return from the Olympic Games to Minsk. She was offered a humanitarian visa and is free to pursue her sporting career in Poland if she so chooses,” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz posted on Twitter.

The 24-year-old told Japanese media NHK that she had complained on social media about being instructed to compete in an event she was not scheduled for, which was deemed criticism of the Belarusian government, and that she was about to be sent home.

“I was put under pressure and they are trying to forcibly take me out of the country without my consent,” Tsymanouskaya said in a video posted to social media, asking the IOC to intervene.

Upon arrival at Tokyo airport, the athlete came under the protection of the Japanese police, who took her into their custody.

“She has told us that she feels safe,” the IOC said on Twitter.

The Czech government also offered the athlete a visa to travel to the Czech Republic and seek asylum.

“The Japanese authorities have just confirmed that the Belarusian athlete Kryscina Tsimanouskaya has received our asylum offer. If she decides to go for it, we will help her as much as possible,” Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek wrote on Twitter.

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