Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya received a humanitarian visa from Poland on Monday, hours after refusing to board a flight from Japan, claiming she was forced to return to her homeland against her will and feared being arrested.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz announced on Twitter that Timanovskaya had obtained the visa. “Poland will do whatever is necessary to help him pursue his sporting career. (Poland) is always synonymous with solidarity,” he posted.
He then told Reuters that the 24-year-old Olympic athlete planned to visit Poland in the following days. “According to her decision, this is what our consul heard in Tokyo, she plans to come to Poland in a few days to be here in Warsaw. And if she wishes … she is free to continue her sports career in Poland. “, he added. said Przydacz.
Earlier Monday, Reuters reported that Timanovskaya was seen entering the Polish embassy.
Timanovskaya was due to compete in the women’s 200-meter at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, but said representatives of the Belarusian national team attempted to forcibly return her to her home country after criticizing national sports authorities for the have entered the 4×400 meter relay without her. consent.
Team officials came to the Olympic Village on Sunday afternoon and asked her to “pack her bags as the decision had been made for her to return to Minsk,” said Anatol Kotau, of the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation. , which represents athletes repressed by Belarusian authorities. , and who is in direct contact with Timanovskaya.
The Belarusian embassy in Tokyo said in a statement Monday that Belarusian diplomats arrived at the airport on Sunday to “clarify the circumstances” and provide “possible consular and legal assistance if necessary”, but were unable to obtain any information on Timanovskaya from Japanese representatives. . The statement added that the athlete has not been in contact with the embassy.
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