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Olympics-Reaction to athlete's refusal to return to Belarus

·2 min read
Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is escorted by police officers at Haneda international airport in Tokyo, Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Belarusian athlete who refused to board a flight https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/exclusive-olympics-belarusian-athlete-says-she-was-taken-airport-go-home-after-2021-08-01 after she said she was taken to the airport by her team against her will was "safe and secure" in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee said on Monday.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, spent the night in an airport hotel after she sought protection from Japanese police at Haneda airport late on Sunday, IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said at a media conference.

Here are quotes from officials and others involved in reaction to the developments:

INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE SPOKESPERSON MARK ADAMS:

"Our duty to her is to make sure she is safe and secure and she's told us that she is. We were in touch with her last night and we are in touch with her again today and continue to be in touch with her. But in the end if there are wider issues that isn't for the IOC to deal with.

"We are supporting her and we want to make sure that she gets what she wants and we support her in that.

JAPAN CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATSUNOBU KATO:

"The Belarusian athlete has been kept safe with cooperation with relevant parties.

"The Japanese government understands that relevant parties such as Tokyo 2020 organisers, IOC are checking her intentions.

"Japan is coordinating with relevant parties and continue to take appropriate action."

POLAND'S DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MARCIN PRZYDACZ:

"Poland is ready to help (Krystsina) Tsimanouskaya...she was offered a humanitarian visa and is free to pursue her sporting career in Poland if she so chooses."

CZECH REPUBLIC FOREIGN MINISTER JAKUB KULHANEK:

"I consider the situation around the Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya to be scandalous. The Czech Republic is ready to help...we offer her a visa to enter the country so that she can apply for international protection with us. Our embassy in Tokyo is also ready to help."

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH PROGRAMME OFFICER IN TOKYO TEPPEI KASAI:

"Japanese authorities as well as the IOC should take seriously Krystsina Tsimanouskaya's concerns and continue to offer her appropriate protection on humanitarian grounds.

"The Japanese government should continue to do everything it can, including coordination with other governments, to ensure she is not forced back to Belarus, and that her family back home is also protected from government repression."

(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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