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IOC Boots Two Belarusian Coaches From Olympic Village

Andy Berg

The International Olympic Committee has removed two Belarusian coaches from the Olympic Village in Tokyo for their roles in trying to force a sprinter back to Belarus where she feared she would be thrown in jail.

The IOC announced Thursday that it has set up a disciplinary commission for the case of Belarus' Krystsina Tsimanouskaya and had removed coaches Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich from the Olympic village as a provisional measure.

The two coaches left the village without incident and will have the chance to defend themselves.

The two coaches were believed to have been part of the politically motivated removal of Tsimanousakaya from the Olympics.

Tsimanouskaya posted a July 27 video to Instagram, where she criticized officials for placing her in the 4x400-meter relay, an event she had never participated in.

Five days later, Tsimanouskaya said she was met by her coaches in her room, told to pack and then driven to the airport against her wishes. She refused and posted a video to her Instagram, asking Japanese officials for protection.

Belarusian officials said Tsimanouskaya was withdrawn over her “emotional and psychological state.” 

Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko is known as a brutal dictator. Tsimanouskaya was told by team officials that the decision to remove her came from “above their pay grade” and that she would be placed in a psychiatric facility upon her return. One activist group claimed her life would be in danger should she be forced to return to Belarus.

Tsimanousakaya was eventually taken into protective custody by Japanese officials and placed transmitted to the Polish embassy where she was granted a humanitarian visa.

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