In her first press conference after coming to Poland, where she has been granted a humanitarian visa, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said on Thursday she was not planning to return to Belarus in fear of repressions.
At the conference, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya first thanked everyone for support, including Japanese and Polish foreign ministries, Polish PM’s office and diplomatic service for helping her to fly from Japan to Poland. She said she had not planned to leave the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Tsimanouskaya: I’m happy that I can feel safe
“I’m happy to know that I’m safe, I’m grateful to Polish diplomatic service and the government,” she stressed and added she had chosen Poland after discussion with her parents.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya also said she was waiting for her husband who was expected to join her soon. She added she hoped she would be also to pursue her sporting career in Poland, and that her husband would find a job there.
“When I was at the Olympic Village, people from my team came to me and told me to say I was injured and want to return home, and if I refused I could have faced problems in Belarus,” she said.
Tsimanouskaya on smear campaign
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya also spoke about her grandmother warning her against returning home due a smear campaign launched against her by the regime-controlled media in Belarus. She stressed that her disputes with representatives of the Belarusian sport association had pertained only to sports issues.
“I’m a bit surprised that this whole situation has been so politicised. This was only a strictly sport-related situation,” the athlete said.
The question of political asylum
Tsimanouskaya said she wasn’t thinking about asking for political asylum. “Right now I want to remain in sport, to continue my sporting career,” she emphasized.
“We’ve chosen Poland because when I spoke with my parents, they said possibly Poland could be the best option for me. Maybe it would be possible for them to visit me here, so we could at least see each other every now and then , “she added.
On Sunday, the athlete informed that due her criticism of Belarusian sport authorities she had been banned from taking part in the Olympics, and that she was being forced to fly back to Belarus.
TVN24 News in English, TVN24
Main photo source: Radek Pietruszka / PAP