Aug 3, 2021 - Sports

Belarus sprinter says she would "definitely" face punishment at home

This file photo taken on July 30, 2021 shows Belarus' Krystsina Tsimanouskaya (L) and Spain's Maria Isabel Perez competing in the women's 100m heats
Belarus' Krystsina Tsimanouskaya races Spain's Maria Isabel Perez in the women's 100-meter heats. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

Belarusian Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya told AP on Tuesday that officials from her country made it clear that she "would definitely face some form of punishment" if she returned home.

State of play: Tsimanouskaya plans to seek refuge in Europe after claiming that she was taken to the Tokyo airport against her will after criticizing Belarusian coaches. Poland granted her a humanitarian visa on Monday.

What she's saying: "They made it clear that upon return home I would definitely face some form of punishment,” Tsimanouskaya told AP in an interview. "There were also thinly disguised hints that more would await me."

  • “For now I just want to safely arrive in Europe ... meet with people who have been helping me and make a decision what to do next,” Tsimanouskaya said in the interview.
  • Tsimanouskaya told AP that she believes she would be kicked off of the national team.
  • "I would very much like to continue my sporting career because I’m just 24 and I had plans for two more Olympics at least," she said. "For now, the only thing that concerns me is my safety."

Catch up quick: Tsimanouskaya, who was set to race in the 200-meter heats and the 4x400 relay, criticized "the negligence of our coaches" on Instagram, prompting her removal, according to the athlete.

Go deeper: Poland grants humanitarian visa to Belarus sprinter

Go deeper