TOKYO (AP) — A Belarus
Olympic team attempted to deport her from Japan
, sparking a standoff at Tokyo's main airport on Sunday evening.
's activist group said she believed her life was in danger
in Belarus and planned to seek asylum
at the Austrian embassy in Tokyo.
Tsimanouskaya stated in a video message
shared on social media
that she was under pressure from Belarus team officials and requested assistance from the International Olympic Committee
“I was put under duress, and they are attempting to deport me without my consent
,” the 24-year-old runner explained.
Tsimanouskaya, who is scheduled to compete in the Olympic 200-meter heats on Monday, took to Instagram
to criticize Belarus team officials, claiming she was placed in the 4x400 relay despite never competing in the event.
According to the Belarusian Sport
Solidarity Foundation, the athlete was targeted by government supporters, and Tsimanouskaya sought assistance from the organization to avoid being deported to Minsk.
“The campaign was quite serious, and that was a clear signal that her life would be in danger in Belarus,” said Alexander Opeikin, a BSSF spokesman, in an interview
with The Associated Press
Tsimanouskaya was summoned by Japanese police at Haneda Airport and did not board a flight to Istanbul, according to Opeikin, who added that foreign ministry officials arrived later.
Tsimanouskaya was in a police station early Monday morning, according to a statement
issued by the BSSF.
“I explained the situation to a police officer
about how I was taken from the Olympic Village
,” she said, adding, “Now I am in a secure situation and determining where I will spend the night.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC
), which has been at odds with the Belarus National Olympic Committee in the run-up to the Tokyo Games
, announced that it had intervened.
said in a statement that “the IOC... is investigating the situation and has requested clarification from the NOC.”