Two members of the Belarus Olympic team have lost their Olympic Games accreditation and had to leave the Olympic village immediately. It concerns Yuri Moysevich, coach of the Belarusian athletics team and team member Artur Shumak. The two tried to force Olympic sprinter Kristina Tsimanoeskaja to take the plane to Belarus.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) reported Friday (local time) that it has decided to withdraw its accreditations. Not only did the two people have to leave the Olympic village, the corona measures mean that they are no longer allowed to stay in Japan.
“In the interest of the well-being of Belarusian athletes currently in Tokyo, the IOC revoked the accreditations of the two coaches last night,” the committee said in a statement. “We have requested the two coaches to leave the Olympic village immediately, and they have done so.”
IOC President Thomas Bach said Friday morning he was happy that Tsimanoeskaya is safe in Poland. “This is a deplorable matter,” said Bach.
The Japanese government called it unacceptable that an athlete was forced to leave. “It is unacceptable and unjust that an athlete was pressured to go home after expressing her opinion about athletics.”
The refugee 24-year-old Tsimanoeskaja from Belarus arrived in Poland on Thursday. She was expelled from the Olympic team on Sunday for criticism of her coaches, after which her coaches forced her to fly home. Instead, Tsimanoeskaya went to the Polish embassy in Tokyo, which had offered her a visa for humanitarian reasons.
The IOC said it is investigating the incident to “clarify the role the coaches played”. The Belarus Olympic team has not yet commented on the developments.
The incident has again drawn attention to Belarus. There has been cracking down on people of dissent since a wave of protest shook the country after last year’s elections. According to the opposition, fraud was committed to keeping President Alexander Lukashenko in power.