The sprinter is now in a safe place, a spokesman for the International Olympic Committee said, as they consider what steps to take in the coming days.

It all started when Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, criticised the Belarusian federation on social media for entering her in an event she had not prepared for.

The sprinter had qualified to compete in Monday’s 200m heats.

She asked the airport police for help

Shortly after her comment, she was taken to the Japanese capital’s Haneda airport for her forced return. Once there, she asked the police for help.

According to Belarusian opposition sources, she may have sought asylum in Austria, although other countries have also offered to take her in.

“I have asked the International Olympic Committee for help. They have put pressure on me and are trying to forcibly remove me from the country without my consent. I ask the IOC to intervene,” she said from the airport.

The Belarus Olympic Committee, led by a son of President Alexander Lukashenko, claimed that Tsimanouskaya’s participation in the Games had been terminated because of her mental and physical condition.

Opposition groups claim that his life would be in danger if he returned to his increasingly repressive country against critics of the regime.


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