A Belarusian track and field Olympian is at the center of a dispute with her home country that led to a tense situation Sunday evening at Tokyo’s Haneda airport and the looming possibility of an asylum claim.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said on social media and claimed in comments to international reporters that she was being forcibly repatriated to Belarus after criticizing her coaches publicly.
Tsimanouskaya, 24, is slated to compete in the 200-meter heats on Monday and the 4×400 relay on Thursday, according to NBC News.
The International Olympic Committee, which Tsimanouskaya specifically called out to for help in social media posts, tweeted Sunday that it had spoken to her directly and that a staff member from the games was with her at the airport.
The Belarusian Olympic Committee said in a statement that coaches had decided to withdraw Tsimanouskaya from the Games on doctors’ advice about her “emotional, psychological state.”
She disputed that in statements to global media.