Arseń Zdaniewicz, husband of Kryscina Cimanouska, an athlete who decided not to return to Belarus during the Olympic Games in Tokyo, left that country and went to Ukraine. In an interview with the BBC, he said he felt safe. Cimanouska received a humanitarian visa in Poland. He will arrive in Warsaw next Wednesday.
Arseń Zdaniewicz, 25, left Belarus for Ukraine after his wife announced that due to criticism of the actions of the sports authorities of her country, she was removed from participation in the Olympic Games in Tokyoand the officers tried to force her to fly to Belarus via Istanbul. He did not specify the exact whereabouts. Earlier, the Russian portal Sport Express reported that the man was in Kiev.
– I made the decision to leave in half an hour. I did not feel that I was being followed, I calmly crossed the border, now I am safe – the athlete’s husband, who is also an athlete and coach, said in an interview with the BBC. Zdaniewicz claimed that he left for Ukraine because he had friends there. It is not known what the future plans of the couple are.
Normal “mental state”
Zdaniewicz stressed that his wife’s mental state was “normal”, although the Belarusian state media reported her “mental problems”. When asked if he and Cimanouska supported the protests in Belarus, he replied: – We were not interested in politics and we did not participate in the protests.
The man noted that he and his wife were ready to return to Belarus, provided that, as he put it, “they will not seat us and there will be no criminal cases”. He informed that Cimanouska’s mother was left in Belarus, as well as other relatives who supported them.
Support for border guards
In an interview with the European Radio for Belarus (Euroradio), Zdaniewicz said that after crossing the border he felt the support of the Ukrainian border guard. – Even the border guard supported and wished good luck in the future, so that everything would turn out well for us. They already know the situation in Ukraine and are ready to help – he said.
When asked how he “sees the whole situation,” he replied. – The whole problem is that our managers (sports team – ed.) Work badly, they don’t tell the athletes anything, they find out everything at the last minute. Of course, I understand the emotions of Kryscina, who learned that instead of her long distance relay race she was to run 4×400 meters. It’s a very long distance for her.
Cimanouska’s husband: he is a girl with character
There were reports in the Belarusian media that Cimanouska cried when talking to her guardians, who were to persuade her to return to Belarus. – In general, she is a girl with character. This means that it is difficult to bring her to such a state in everyday life. How was she treated there? I have no words to describe the methods used by our compatriots. I am just shocked by our team representatives putting pressure on the athletes.
Do you understand that you will not be able to return to Belarus and your career may start from scratch? Euroradia journalist asked. – I understand and I do not regret it. I don’t want my wife to be alone in another country without any support. In any case, I will support her and be with her. And I think you can find a job in another country as well.
He is afraid of reprisals
The representative of the Belarusian Solidarity Sports Fund, Anatol Kotau, told the BBC that Cimanouska is afraid of reprisals against her family in Belarus and “this is her greatest fear now”.
On Monday, Kryscina Cimanouska, who reported to the police at the airport the day before and, as a result, did not fly out of Tokyo, received a Polish humanitarian visa at the Polish embassy. Polish diplomats offered her protection and assistance in traveling to Poland. On Sunday in Tokyo, she was helped by employees of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The matter was taken up by the IOC.
Main photo source: SERGEY DOLZHENKO / EPA / PAP