Two Belarus coaches kicked out of Olympics over Tsimanouskaya removal

Tokyo (AFP) –


Two Belarusian coaches have been stripped of their Tokyo Olympics passes over an alleged attempt to force a sprinter to fly home after she criticised team officials.

The International Olympic Committee said it had removed the accreditations of Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich and they had left the Olympic Village.

The body said this week that it was investigating the pair over their role in the case of Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who sought protection to avoid being put on a plane home.

She said she feared for her life if forced back to Belarus, which has been wracked by political upheaval and a crackdown on dissent after disputed elections that returned strongman Alexander Lukashenko to power last year.

Tsimanouskaya is one of more than 2,000 Belarusian sports figures who signed an open letter calling for new elections and for political prisoners to be freed.

But her trouble in Tokyo came after she posted on her Instagram, criticising her coaches for entering her into a race without informing her first.

The IOC said the two coaches "will be offered an opportunity to be heard" but that the measures against them were taken "in the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes" from Belarus who are still in Tokyo.