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Belarus Olympic sprinter says punishment awaited her back home

Tokyo Olympics Belarus Athlete
Posted at 6:27 AM, Aug 03, 2021

MOSCOW (AP) — A Belarusian Olympic sprinter who had a public feud with officials from her team at the Tokyo Games says that authorities “made it clear” she would face punishment if she returned home to an autocratic government.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is waiting to leave Japan to seek refuge in Europe.

She said in an interview Tuesday that she hopes she can continue her career, but for now her safety is the priority.

After she criticized the management of her team on social media, she accused officials of hustling her to the airport and trying to put her on a plane back to Belarus.

In the dramatic standoff, several countries offered her help. Poland granted her a humanitarian visa Monday.

Belarus' government has relentlessly stifled criticism.