IOC Asks 2 Belarus Coaches to Leave Olympics Immediately

IOC says they tried to force sprinter to board plane back to country
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 6, 2021 2:45 AM CDT
2 Belarus Coaches Booted From Olympics
Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who arrived in Poland on Wednesday fearing reprisals at home after criticizing her coaches at the Tokyo Games, holds up an Olympic-related T-shirt with the slogan "I Just Want to Run" after her news conference in Warsaw, Poland, on Aug. 5, 2021.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Two Belarus team coaches have been removed from the Olympics, four days after they were involved in trying to send sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya back to their country. The International Olympic Committee said Friday it has canceled and removed the credentials of Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich, the AP reports. "The two coaches were requested to leave the Olympic Village immediately and have done so," the IOC said. It was done as an interim measure during a formal investigation "in the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes," the Olympic body said. Shimak and Maisevich continued to have contact with Belarusian athletes since Sunday, when they took Tsimanouskaya in a car to the airport to put her on a plane to Belarus, the IOC said. She asked police for help, saying she was being forced to board the flight.

Tsimanouskaya had criticized team coaches on social media and is now in Poland on a humanitarian visa. The IOC said Shimak and Maisevich "will be offered an opportunity to be heard" by its disciplinary commission investigating the case. It was unclear if the men have stayed in Japan or will leave for Belarus, an authoritarian former Soviet republic that relentlessly pursues its critics. Belarus has been in turmoil for a year since Aleksander Lukashenko claimed a sixth presidential term after a state election widely viewed as rigged in his favor. Lukashenko also led the Belarusian Olympic committee from the 1990s until this year. His son, Viktor, was elected to replace him.

(More 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games stories.)

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