The government of Czech Republic on Monday confirmed that it had offered protection and asylum to Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya who earlier complained about her team attempt to send her home from Japan following a misunderstanding. She reportedly refused to board a plane back to Belarus.
“The Japanese authorities have just confirmed to us that the Belarusian athlete Kryscina Tsimanouskaya has received our offer of asylum,” Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek said on Twitter.
“If she decides to accept it, we will help her as much as possible. The Olympics are not about politics, the methods of the (President Alexander) Lukashenko regime are absolutely shameful,” the government official said.
Timanovskaya spent the night in an airport hotel after requesting for protection late Sunday from Tokyo 2020 Japanese officials to avoid getting on a plane against her will, the International Olympic Committee said.
She alleged that all of a suddden, her team wanted to send her home after she openly criticised Belarus’s athletics federation for putting her up for a relay race in the Tokyo Olympics games without giving her prior notice.
Polish authorities on the other end have also offered to assist Timanovskaya with a humanitarian visa to pursue her career without restriction in Poland while the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa has also offered to host Timanovskaya.
Many other athletes including Belarus athletes have also voiced their support for the athlete while the organizing committee for the Tokyo2020 have reiterated their support for her and their determination to ensure that no athlete partaking in the games is intimidated and coerced against their wish.