- Title: IOC to launch formal investigation into Tsimanouskaya situation
- Date: 3rd August 2021
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (AUGUST 3, 2021) (REUTERS) NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC SPOKESPERSON, MARK ADAMS, SAYING: "We have decided to launch, not surprisingly, a formal investigation which will be led by the IOC administration. We need to establish the full facts, we need to hear everyone involved, that obviously can take time. And in the meantime obviously our first concern is for the athlete." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC SPOKESPERSON, MARK ADAMS, SAYING: "As I said yesterday, we are expecting, we have asked for a report from the NOC today. We requested it yesterday, we want it today." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC SPOKESPERSON, MARK ADAMS, SAYING: "We spoke to her twice. She reassured us, once again, she's feeling safe and secure. I believe there's a call going on this morning with her as well, and together with the relevant authorities, and the competent organisations, she is planning her future. We also, as I said yesterday, in contact with UNHCR our partner, which is helping, and in fact we were in contact with them right from the get go, the very beginning on the evening of...as well I can tell you now, I was mentioning it yesterday, on the night of the incident. She is, as I say, in a safe and secure place. We have also now contacted the NOC of Poland, if you have been following, you have obviously, the story. And in terms of what the IOC can do for her, in terms of her future, we have talked to them with regard to her sport after her arrival in Warsaw if that's where she does indeed choose to end up. So, in terms of her safety and security I think we've dealt with most of the issues that needed to be dealt." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC SPOKESPERSON, MARK ADAMS, SAYING: "We are now investigating. We're expecting a report today, we do need to establish the facts before we take any further action, and I think all of those put together should, I hope, give confidence to all athletes that the IOC is listening to them and acting on what they...on any concerns they may have." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC SPOKESPERSON, MARK ADAMS, SAYING: "In terms of safeguarding, first and foremost, I think actually the actions that we've taken, together with our partners, should hopefully give confidence, not just to Belarusian athletes, but to all athletes that the IOC will take the worries, the concerns, seriously and will act on them. We've done that, and hopefully that will give them confidence. There are, in terms of facilities in the village, there are 10 full time IOC staff there, at all levels in the village, they are there living there, they deal with with the athletes day to day, directly, not through their own NOCs, but through their NOCs as well, but they directly deal with them. They are approachable they are obvious. They are... you can talk to them. There's also a very large Tokyo 2020 team there and anyone would be happy willing to accept any approach and be talked to, that's obvious. There is also a safeguarding officer in the village for everyone, there are psychologists and a polyclinic there as well, which people can go to, so there are many, many opportunities. And there's also a hotline, a mental health hotline, but it's a hotline in general for athletes, which is in 70 languages, so it's available to everyone. And as I would say, and as I was trying to stress, this is not just for athletes from one particular NOC, this is for athletes from all 205 that are here and the refugee Olympic team, that they then can come." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 17th August 2021 04:29
- Keywords: Belarus Japan Krystina Timanovskaya Tokyo 2020
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Olympics,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001EOQ76TJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The IOC said on Tuesday (August 3) it was waiting for a report later in the day from the Belarusian National Olympic Committee on the case of sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, after launching an investigation into the incident that has rocked the Games.
The athlete took refuge in the Polish embassy in Tokyo on Monday, a day after refusing her team's orders to board a flight home from the Olympic Games. Warsaw has offered her a humanitarian visa.
International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Adams told reporters the body had spoken to the athlete twice on Monday, that she was in a safe, secure place, and that the IOC needed to know all the facts before taking further action.
Asked whether an IOC decision on the matter would come during the Games, Adams said it was not possible to estimate how long the investigation would take.
Tsimanouskaya, 24, had been due to compete in the women's 200 metre heats on Monday but said that on Sunday she was taken out of her room in the athletes' village and driven to the airport to board a flight home after criticising team officials.
The incident has focussed 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.
In March, the IOC refused to recognise the election of Lukashenko's son Viktor as head of the country's Olympic Committee. Both father and son were banned from attending the Games in December.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken blasted Belarus' attempt to send Tsimanouskaya home.
"Such actions violate the Olympic spirit, are an affront to basic rights, and cannot be tolerated," Blinken wrote on Twitter late on Monday.
(Production: Nathan Frandino, Iain Axon)
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