- Title: 'She did the right thing' - Belarusian decathlete Krauchanka on Tsimanouskaya
- Date: 2nd August 2021
- Summary: DUISBURG, GERMANY (AUGUST 2, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) FORMER BELARUSIAN DECATHLETE, ANDREI KRAUCHANKA, SAYING: "I thought that the athlete would react this way. Because the 400m is a completely different distance from what from Krystsina runs. I used to run 400m, I know that that is. Her reaction is adequate. Krystsina has no blame at all in this situation. It's not her fault that the relay fell apart and there are no people to complete the relay team. All the blame here lies with the leadership."
- Embargoed: 16th August 2021 18:45
- Keywords: Olympics Tokyo Tsimanouskaya athlete athletics reaction scandal
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN, DUISBURG, GERMANY, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, DOHA, QATAR, BARCELONA, SPAIN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN, DUISBURG, GERMANY, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, DOHA, QATAR, BARCELONA, SPAIN
- Country: Various
- Topics: Olympics,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001EOL7PZ3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART AUDIO AND VIDEO QUALITY AS INCOMING
Belarusian decathlete Andrei Krauchanka on Monday (August 2) supported compatriot Krystsina Tsimanouskaya who took refuge in the Polish embassy in Tokyo after refusing her team's orders to fly home from the Olympic Games.
Sprinter Tsimanouskaya was granted a humanitarian visa by the Polish government. She had earlier refused to get on a flight home, saying she had been taken to the airport against her will by Belarusian officials because she had criticized her team's coaching staff.
He supported Tsimanouskaya's criticism of the sport authorities and called for solidarity.
"Yes, everybody has their own opinion. But the sports world is completely different and there needs to be solidarity. It doesn't matter if someone likes or doesn't like Krystsina, but in this situation she is right," Krauchanka said from Duisburg, Germany.
The 2008 Olympic silver medallist said he was dismissed from the national team and sacked from his job after signing an open letter demanding new elections, and later briefly jailed for participating in protests against veteran leader Alexander Lukashenko.
Tsimanouskaya said she had been removed from the team as she had spoken out about what she described as the negligence of their coaches.
She had complained on Instagram that she was entered in the 4x400 m relay after some team members were found to be ineligible to compete at the Olympics because they had not undergone sufficient doping tests.
Krauchanka told Reuters that this criticism was justified.
"I thought that the athlete would react this way. Because the 400m is a completely different distance from what from Krystsina runs. I used to run 400m, I know what that is. Her reaction is adequate. Krystsina has no blame at all in this situation... All the blame here lies with the leadership," he noted.
The incident has focused attention on Belarus, where police have cracked down on dissent following a wave of protests triggered by an election last year which the opposition says was rigged to keep Lukashenko in power.
(Production: Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, Anton Derbenev, Akira Tomoshige, Pak Yiu, Alexandra Szmigiel, Lucy Nicholson, Phil Noble, Dominic Ebenbichler)
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