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She fled from Lukashenko: exile sprinter talks about sanctions

She fled from Lukashenko
Exile sprinter talks about sanctions

In the summer of 2021, Kristina Timanovskaya is fleeing the long arms of the Belarusian regime. The Olympic starter in Tokyo is to be returned to her homeland against her will. She can escape to Poland. Now she is talking about the sanctions against Belarus and what they mean for her.

In view of the sanctions at home, the Belarusian track and field athlete Kristina Timanowskaja, who now lives in Poland, shares her sympathy for the fate of her former colleagues. “The athletes are suffering, they can no longer compete. Of course, they now had the chance to compete under the neutral flag, but nobody agreed to that,” said the athlete in an interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”.

“Some athletes I’ve spoken to, including some who have even competed in the Olympics, are now considering retiring, emigrating, and then maybe trying a sports career abroad,” she said. Since Russia attacked Ukraine, Belarus, as an ally, has also been hit by sanctions.

Timanovskaya’s case and her spectacular flight to Poland caused a sensation internationally in the summer of 2021. She was to be returned against her will to her home country, which is ruled authoritarian by President Alexander Lukashenko, after a clash with sports officials at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. She had then contacted the Japanese police and the International Olympic Committee and fled to Poland, which issued her with a humanitarian visa.

Timanovskaya wants to start for Poland

In the future, the sprinter wants to start for her adopted country. “I will compete for Poland. But if you change nations, a three-year “quarantine” is planned. I now want to apply for this time to be shortened in my case because of the special circumstances,” said Timanovskaya, who is with her husband lives in Poland. “I no longer have a future in Belarus,” she stressed.

She has practically no longer had any contact with her Belarusian colleagues. “Most of them blocked me immediately after the incident, maybe because they were ordered to do so, but maybe also because they were afraid they would also be pursued,” said Timanovskaya. “I’m only in contact with a few. They are all opposed to the war but are afraid to speak out publicly.”

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