IOC removes two Belarus coaches from Tokyo Olympics over athlete removal

Two Belarus coaches who cut short sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya’s Tokyo Games have had their accreditation revoked and were removed from the athletes village, the IOC said on Friday. Athletics head coach Yuri Moisevich and team official Artur Shumak were asked to leave the Olympic village, the International Olympic Committee said, days after they ordered Tsimanouskaya pack her bags and and go to the airport.

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said that members of the national team in Tokyo took her to the airport on Sunday in an attempt to send her home against her will after she publicly criticized the team’s coaches. Ms. Tsimanouskaya didn’t board the flight for fear for her life if she returned home and is now in Poland, where she received a humanitarian visa. The IOC said early Friday that it had cancelled the accreditations of two coaches, Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich, “in the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes of the [Belarus Olympic Committee] who are still in Tokyo.” The IOC had launched an investigation into the case earlier this week and asked the Belarus Olympic Committee for a report. The 24-year-old arrived in Warsaw late on August 4 under Polish diplomatic protection ahead of an expected asylum request. She was reunited with her husband, Arsen Zdanevich, on August 5, according to Warsaw-based Belarusian opposition politician Pavel Latushko, Reuters reported. Poland has granted the pair humanitarian visas and has pledged to ensure their safety.

Tsimanouskaya told a news conference on August 5 that she was grateful to Poland for its help but she still hoped to return to “free” Belarus one day.