A BELARUSIAN Olympic sprinter is being protected by Tokyo police after she claimed her coaches were forcing her to return to a dictatorship.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was due to compete in the women's 200m race on Monday - but was instead taken to Haneda international airport yesterday.
Officials allegedly bundled the 24-year-old female sprinter to the airport in Tokyo to try to force her back home today - after she publicly criticised her coaches on social media.
She did not plan to return to Belarus and tried to not board the flight, Reuters reports, and she added: "I will not return to Belarus."
The Olympian recorded an appeal today, saying: "I am asking the International Olympic Committee for help.
"I have been pressured and they are trying to take me out of the country without my consent, so I am asking the IOC to intervene."
Now the International Olympic Committee has said it had spoken to Tsimanouskaya and that she was being accompanied by a Tokyo 2020 staff member at the airport.
"She has told us she feels safe," the IOC said in a Twitter post.
It added the IOC and Tokyo 2020 would continue their conversations with Tsimanouskaya and the authorities "to determine the next steps in the upcoming days".
Tsimanouskaya said that coaching staff had come to her room on Sunday and told her to pack up - before taking her to the airport.
She was set to run in the 200m and 4x400m Olympic relay on Thursday.
Journalists reported that Belarusian state media launched a campaign against her after she criticised Belarus national team's management on Friday.
Reports now say that she is trying to apply for asylum in Austria after speaking with the Japanese airport police.
Journalist Hanna Liubakova said on Twitter: "It's been reported that Kryscina Tsimanouskaya, who publicly criticized the regime and sports officials, is being sent from Tokyo back to Belarus.
"Apparently, representatives of the Belarusian national team took her to the airport. It looks like a kidnapping."
Belarus Olympic sprinter being protected by Tokyo police after claiming she was being ‘forced to return to dictatorship’
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