“My grandmother called me and said, ‘Do not return to Belarus!'”- Krystsina Tsimanouskaya on her dramatic survival in Tokyo

The Belarusian athlete arrived safely in Warsaw, where she gave an insightful interview for Polish public television TVP, in which she recounted the recent difficult events in her life

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: TVP Info

A few days ago, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya criticized the Belarusian Olympics coaching staff and was withdrawn from participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She was ordered to pack her bags and was driven to the airport. At the airport, the athlete asked the Japanese police for assistance due to fears for her safety. She was later transferred to the Polish embassy in Tokyo and was given a humanitarian visa.

Tsimanouskaya reflected on the moment she had felt the greatest fear.

“When I was walking to the car with my luggage, my grandmother called me and said: ‘Do not return to Belarus,'” the athlete said.

She explained that that was the moment in which she knew that she had to make a serious decision. If she returned to Minsk, she would face time in a psychiatric hospital or jail due to regime media claiming that she had mental problems.

She was lucky because next to the terminal from which she was to fly to Belarus, a police officer was present, and she asked him for help through a translation app in her phone.

“The Polish embassy reacted immediately and offered me its help. Without thinking too long about it, I accepted the offer and I am very grateful that they let me stay in the Polish embassy in Japan. The diplomats also accompanied me on my journey to Warsaw and further help and the continuation of my sports career was offered in Poland,” the athlete added.

The Polish embassy reacted immediately and offered me its help. Without thinking too long about it, I accepted the offer and I am very grateful that they let me stay in the Polish embassy in Japan.

Tsimanouskaya’s journey was long, as she first landed in Vienna and only afterwards travelled to Warsaw itself.

Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, who also took part in the interview with the athlete, thanked her for trusting Poland and the country’s services.

He emphasized that the Polish government had not revealed any details about the athlete’s journey for safety reasons.

“The acceptance and final decision concerning the proper variant and giving the operation full priority was made by PM Mateusz Morawiecki who had also spoken with Mrs. Tsimanouskaya,” the diplomat stated.

The athlete herself expressed gratitude to PM Morawiecki and everyone who helped her, adding that she hoped she could remain in Poland and continue her sport career. She also emphasized that she felt safe in Poland was eagerly awaiting her husband who had also received a Polish humanitarian visa.

“My life has changed so much in the last few days. I hope that one day I will be able to return to Belarus and that our country will be safe and better,” she said.

Title image source of Krystsina Tsimanouskaya. (TVP Info)

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