Belarusian Olympic sprinter granted asylum in Poland

Belarus Olympic track sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has been granted asylum in Poland after expressing fears for her own safety if she returned to her native country, The Washington Post reported.

In a statement on Monday, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz tweeted that ​​Tsimanouskaya has been in contact with the Polish authorities on her situation and has received her humanitarian visa, adding that the country will “always for Solidarity.”

“Kryscina Tsimanouskaya a Belarusian athlet is already in direct contact with Polish diplomats in Tokyo. She has received a humanitarian Visa,” Przydacz wrote. “Poland will do whatever is necessary to help her to continue her sporting career. always stands for Solidarity.”

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This comes as a video that circulated throughout social media showed the 24-year-old sprinter pleading for help, stating that Belarus is forcibly trying to make her return to the country after criticizing her team for placing her in the 4x400-meter relay, an event she has never competed in before, according to the Post. 

The International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Admas said in a press briefing on Monday that they spoke with Tsimanouskaya about her ongoing situation, stating that the sprinter “assured us and has assured us that she feels safe and secure,” the Post reported. 

The executive director of the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Fund, Alexander Opeikin, told the Post that Tsimanouskaya will fly to the Polish capital of Warsaw on Wednesday. 

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Tadeusz Giczan, the editor in chief of the Belarusian opposition Telegram channel NEXTA, shared in a Twitter thread that Tsimanouskaya’s husband and child have fled the country to Ukraine. 

Tsimanouskaya was set to compete in the women’s 200-meter race on Monday, the Post noted.