Move comes after sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya refused to board flight home from Tokyo, saying she feared for her safety.
BY ZOYA SHEFTALOVICH
The International Olympic Committee revoked the accreditation of two Belarusian Olympic officials who were implicated in attempting to force sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya back to Belarus after she criticized her coaches, the IOC announced Friday.
“An IOC Disciplinary Commission has been set up in the case of Krystsina Tsimanouskaya to clarify the circumstances around the incident,” the IOC said in a statement, adding that it would investigate what role the head coach of the Belarus athletics team Yuri Moisevich and team official Artur Shumak had played.
“In the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus who are still in Tokyo and as a provisional measure, the IOC cancelled and removed last night the accreditations of the two coaches, Mr A. Shumak and Mr Y. Moisevich,” the IOC said. It added that the officials had been asked “to leave the Olympic Village immediately and have done so. They will be offered an opportunity to be heard.”
The sprinter was meant to compete in the 200-meter heats in the Olympics, but was removed from the competition and ordered to fly home after saying on social media that her coaches had failed to secure the necessary doping tests for her fellow athletes and had entered her into the 4x400m relay behind her back.
The chairman of the Belarus Olympic Committee is the son of the country’s authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has cracked down on dissenters following last year’s presidential election, which he claims to have won but which has been widely condemned as fraudulent.
After Tsimanouskaya refused to board the plane in Tokyo and sought asylum, the Polish government granted Tsimanouskaya a humanitarian visa.
In a press conference held on Thursday after her arrival in Poland, Tsimanouskaya said she had feared she would be institutionalized at a psychiatric hospital against her will or jailed upon her return to Belarus.