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Coach of Belarus athlete who fled Olympics faces harassment charges

The coach of Belarus sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who fled the Tokyo Olympics to Poland after claiming she was being forced to return home, was Thursday charged with “verbal and mental harassment” by officials.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said Yury Maisevich “did not act with integrity, acted in bad faith, failed to safeguard the athlete’s dignity and his actions constituted verbal and mental harassment.”

Tsimanouskaya claimed she was forcibly taken to the airport in the Japanese capital after refusing to follow orders during the Games in 2021 but managed to attract the attention of the Japanese authorities who intervened.

She eventually fled to Poland which granted her a humanitarian visa.

In the wake of the incident, two Belarus team coaches were suspended.

“An important role of the AIU is to safeguard athletes and protect them from harassment,” said AIU chief Brett Clothier.

“The AIU has investigated this matter thoroughly and considers there is a case to answer for a breach of the Integrity Code of Conduct.”

Tsimanouskaya said she feared for her safety if forced to return to ex-Soviet Belarus ruled by the regime of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko who has been in power for three decades.

The AIU said the second Belarus team official Artur Shumak has not been charged.

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