Poland grants humanitarian visa to Krystina Timanovskaya

Krystina Timanovskaya
epa07680569 Krystsina Tsimanouskaya of Belarus reacts after winning the women's 100m race of the Dynamic New Athletics final at the Minsk 2019 European Games in the Dinamo Stadium in Minsk, Belarus, 28 June 2019. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

A Belarusian athlete who refused orders to fly home early from the Olympics has left Japan.

Krystina Timanovskaya, 24, boarded a flight to Vienna today.

She had been expected to travel directly to Warsaw as Poland has granted her a humanitarian visa, but changed destination at the last minute, an airport official told reporters.

She said her actions were not a political protest.

The athlete voiced fears for her safety after she was forced to pack her belongings and driven to Tokyo’s Haneda airport last week, after criticizing her coaches.

She was given police protection before being moved to the Polish embassy in Tokyo, where she stayed until travelling to Narita airport on Wednesday.

Belarus says she was removed from the national team because of her emotional state.