IOC launches investigation into Belarus sprinter case

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched an investigation into the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus (NOCRB) after sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya alleged officials from the country had taken her to the airport against her will.

The IOC has also demanded the NOCRB – which has already been sanctioned by the IOC after the country’s former President Alexander Lukashenko was found to have discriminated against athletes who protested following his re-election – submit its full report on the situation to the organisation today. The investigation will focus on the involvement of the NOCRB in Tsimanouskaya being ordered to leave the Japanese capital and return to Minsk after she criticised Belarusian coaches on social media. Krystina Timanovskaya, 24, has been granted a humanitarian visa by Poland and is now at its embassy in Tokyo. She is expected to leave Japan on Wednesday, her supporters have said. Ms Timanovskaya said she was taken to the airport against her will after criticising coaches, and voiced fears for her safety. Japan’s foreign minister has said the sprinter is now safe. The IOC has requested that the Belarus National Olympic Committee submit its report on the incident by the end of Tuesday. Belarus says she was removed from the team because of her emotional state. Ms Timanovskaya is currently at the Polish embassy in Tokyo after spending one night secured in a hotel under protection from Japanese police.