Belarusian sprinter may be able to compete for another country at 2024 Olympics

On August 1, Belarus’ Olympic Committee announced that the national track and field team coaches had decided to send Kristina Timanovskaya back home due to her psychological condition, after she was put forward to take part in the 100m and 200m race events

TOKYO, August 4. /TASS/. Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya will be able to apply for participation in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games if she chooses to compete for another country even though athletes usually have to wait for three years, according to a statement by World Athletics available to TASS.

On August 1, Belarus’ Olympic Committee announced that the national track and field team coaches had decided to send Timanovskaya back home due to her psychological condition, after she was put forward to take part in the 100m and 200m race events. Two Belarusian female runners were suspended from the 4×400 relay for failing to undergo the requisite number of doping tests and the coaches moved to engage Timanovskaya, who lashed out at the decision on her social media. The sprinter said later that she had no plans to return to Belarus.

World Athletics said in 2019 that athletes over the age of 20 would only be able to change country once, the transfer period would last at least three years and the athletes would have to prove that the new country was willing to grant them citizenship and related rights.

“Every transfer of allegiance case is considered individually by the Nationality Review Panel,” World Athletics said in response to TASS’ question if Timanovskaya would be able to compete at the next Olympic Games if she changed country. World Athletics pointed to a section of the Eligibility Regulations, which gave it “the discretion to waive or vary the requirements of the transfer of allegiance rules in special circumstances.”

Under the Olympic Charter, “a competitor who has represented one country in the Olympic Games, in continental or regional games or in world or regional championships recognized by the relevant international federation, and who has changed his nationality or acquired a new nationality, may participate in the Olympic Games to represent his new country provided that at least three years have passed since the competitor last represented his former country.” However, “this period may be reduced or even cancelled, with the agreement of the National Olympic Committees and international federations concerned, by the IOC Executive Board, which takes into account the circumstances of each case.”

Belarus’ opposition Sports Solidarity Foundation said that Timanovskaya was being forced to leave Tokyo because of her criticism of the national track and field team’s coaches. The athlete told Euroradio that she intended to seek asylum in Europe. She also asked the International Olympic Committee for help via social media. According to the athlete, she faced pressure and attempts to force her to leave Japan.

Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said on Monday that Timanovskaya had been granted a Polish humanitarian visa. On Wednesday, the athlete, who was expected to fly to Warsaw, took an Austrian Airlines flight to Vienna instead.

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