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Two Belarus Coaches Removed From Olympics, Sent Home by IOC in Tsimanouskaya Case

Two Belarus coaches were removed from the Olympics after they allegedly played a role in trying to send sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya back home.

The International Olympic Committee announced that it canceled and removed the credentials of Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich "in the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes of the NOC of Belarus who are still in Tokyo and as a provisional measure."

"An IOC Disciplinary Commission has been set up in the case of Krystsina Tsimanouskaya to clarify the circumstances around the incident and the roles the coaches Mr Artur Shimak and Mr Yury Maisevich played," IOC Media tweeted in part

The two coaches were "requested to leave the Olympic Village immediately" and had done so by the time the announcement was made. IOC Media tweeted that they will "be offered an opportunity to be heard."

Tsimanouskaya, a Belarusian Olympic sprinter, made critical remarks earlier this week about how officials managed her team after her coaches tried to force her to compete in an event she had never run in before. 

Backlash in state-run media back home started to surge. She revealed in a press conference after landing in Poland several days later that she received warnings from her family that it was not safe to return home. Her grandmother told her not to come home "because on TV, they say a lot of bad words about you, that you have some mental problems."

The sprinter added that her parents also said Belarusians were being urged to "write hateful things about me" on social media.

In response to her remarks, Tsimanouskaya said her coaches told her to pretend to have an injury and to return home. The 24-year-old was taken in a car to the airport where she later refused to board the flight and approached the police instead. 

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“I was put under pressure, and they are trying to forcibly take me out of the country without my consent,” Tsimanouskaya said in a filmed message distributed on social media. She also asked for the IOC's help. 

"Some of our girls did not fly here to compete in the 4x400m relay because they didn't have enough doping tests," Tsimanouskaya later told Reuters. "And the coach added me to the relay without my knowledge. I spoke about this publicly. The head coach came over to me and said there had been an order from above to remove me."

However, the Belarusian Olympic Committee said in a statement that coaches chose to withdraw the sprinter from Tokyo on doctors' advice regarding her "emotional, psychological state."

Tsimanouskaya is now in Poland with a humanitarian visa.  

During a video call with the Associated Press earlier this week, Tsimanouskaya said team officials had "made it clear that, upon return home, I would definitely face some form of punishment."

When asked how it was made clear, she elaborated, saying that “the key phrase was that ‘we didn’t make the decision for you to go home, it was decided by other people, and we were merely ordered to make it happen.’”

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