Belarus sprinter says she would "definitely" face punishment at home

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Belarusian Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya told AP on Tuesday that officials from her country made it clear that she "would definitely face some form of punishment" if she returned home.

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State of play: Tsimanouskaya plans to seek refuge in Europe after claiming that she was taken to the Tokyo airport against her will after criticizing Belarusian coaches. Poland granted her a humanitarian visa on Monday.

What she's saying: "They made it clear that upon return home I would definitely face some form of punishment,” Tsimanouskaya told AP in an interview. "There were also thinly disguised hints that more would await me."

  • “For now I just want to safely arrive in Europe ... meet with people who have been helping me and make a decision what to do next,” Tsimanouskaya said in the interview.

  • Tsimanouskaya told AP that she believes she would be kicked off of the national team.

  • "I would very much like to continue my sporting career because I’m just 24 and I had plans for two more Olympics at least," she said. "For now, the only thing that concerns me is my safety."

Catch up quick: Tsimanouskaya, who was set to race in the 200-meter heats and the 4x400 relay, criticized "the negligence of our coaches" on Instagram, prompting her removal, according to the athlete.

Go deeper: Poland grants humanitarian visa to Belarus sprinter

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