The repression machinery is constantly on the move in Belarus. Dissidents are either jailed or go in exile. Athletes from the country have been targeted and some are choosing to seek refuge in other countries. This article by Tatyana Nevedomskaya is published by Deutsche Welle. Here is an excerpt:
During the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the fate of Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya attracted worldwide attention. She wanted to run in the 100 and 200-meters, for which she had qualified, but her coaches put her on the list for the 4×400-meter relay without her knowledge or permission.
The runner complained about this on social media, saying she had never competed in 400-meter events before. The response of the Belarusian leadership was to exclude her from the Games and try to forcibly bring her back home. But at the Tokyo airport, the sprinter refused to get on the plane and asked the Japanese police for help. Eventually, she got it, in the form of a humanitarian visa, and was able to fly to Poland.
Just a few years ago, the 25-year-old was a star of Belarusian sport. But athletes who showed solidarity with demonstrators and openly opposed the regime of leader Alexander Lukashenko after the contested Belarusian presidential elections in August 2020, saw their sports careers come to an end from that moment onwards. In their home country, at least.
Read the full article here.