Aug 4, 2021 - World

Belarus sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya departs Tokyo for Vienna

Belarus athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya (C) walks through Terminal 1 before boarding her Vienna-bound flight at Narita International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, outside Tokyo on August 4
Belarus athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya (C) at Narita International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, outside Tokyo, before boarding her Vienna-bound flight on Aug. 4. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya left Japan on Wednesday, aboard a plane bound for Vienna after refusing national team orders to fly home amid concerns for her safety.

Driving the news: The 24-year-old Olympian had sought refuge at the Polish embassy in Tokyo, where she was granted a humanitarian visa. But she changed flights at the last minute and boarded an Austrian Airlines flight for Vienna, an airport official told reporters.

  • She had spent two nights in Poland's embassy before departing for Austria's capital.

The big picture: Tsimanouskaya refused national team orders to board a flight home after Belarus officials took her to Tokyo's Haneda airport Sunday following her criticism of Belarusian coaches.

  • She told AP earlier Tuesday that officials from her country made it clear that she "would definitely face some form of punishment" if she returned home.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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