Aug 6, 2021 - Sports

IOC removes two Belarus coaches in Tsimanouskaya case

Krystsina during a press conference.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya during a press conference on Aug. 5. Photo: Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee said Thursday it canceled and removed the accreditations of two Belarusian coaches over their suspected involvement in trying to send sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya back to Belarus.

Driving the news: The coaches, Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich, were asked to leave the Olympic village immediately "and have done so," the IOC said.

  • "In the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes of the NOC 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. Shimak and Mr Y. Maisevich," the IOC tweeted.
  • The move to send the two coaches home is a provisional measure while a formal investigation gets underway. Shimak and Maisevich "will be offered an opportunity to be heard," IOC said.

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

  • Tsimanouskaya arrived in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, where she reunited with her husband. The 24-year-old Olympian received a humanitarian visa from Poland after deciding to defect from her home country when she received a phone call from her grandmother telling her not to return, Reuters reported.
  • Tsimanouskaya said earlier this week that officials told her that she "would definitely face some form of punishment" if she returned home.
  • Belarus is in the midst of a political crisis, with leader Aleksandr Lukashenko cracking down on dissidents. Many critics have been detained or have fled the country in recent months.
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