Krystsina Tsimanouskaya alleged that she has received no contact from the IOC since defecting from Belarus to Poland at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has claimed that she has received "zero" support from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since defecting to Poland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

In a high-profile incident at the delayed Games, Tsimanouskaya was forced to miss her 200 metres race after alleging she was taken to the airport against her will following public criticism of the national team's coaches.

Athletics head coach at Tokyo 2020 Yury Maisevich was recently charged by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) with acting without integrity and in bad faith.

She received a humanitarian visa from Poland and is now a full Polish citizen.

The Olympic Charter requires athletes to wait three years since they last represented their former country to participate for their new country at an Olympic Games, although the IOC Executive Board can "take all decisions of a general or individual nature with regard to issues resulting from nationality, citizenship, domicile or residence of any competitor".

However, Tsimanouskaya told DW that she had received "zero" support from the IOC, and said she has received no contact from its officials since landing in Poland at Tokyo 2020, including from an application for an Olympic Solidarity fund financial grant.

She also suggested that athletes representing Belarus required approval by the country's State Security Committee (KGB).

"The athletes and coaches that currently represent the Belarusian team were chosen according to political principles and not athletic ones," Tsimanouskaya added.

"Only people loyal to the regime are in the team at the moment, people who were approved by the KGB.

"That violates the principles of Olympism and the rights of athletes like me.

"It looks like we don't have any rights."

Belarusian archer Karyna Kazlouskaya fled to Poland last year having been ostracised from the national team, and has also accused the IOC of having "just left us, the people who suffered under the regime".

She had signed an open letter in 2020 calling for an end to police violence against peaceful protestors in the aftermath of Alexander Lukashenko's disputed re-election as President.

Kazlouskaya finished fourth with Belarus in the women's team archery event at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but noted intensifying threats and intimidation since the start of the war in Ukraine last year.

Belarusian archer Karyna Kazlouskaya, who has fled to Poland, has accused the IOC of having
Belarusian archer Karyna Kazlouskaya, who has fled to Poland, has accused the IOC of having "just left us" ©Getty Images

"The head of the Belarusian Federation put a lot of pressure on me," she told DW.

"He said that I should stop my political activity and stay quiet.

"I had those sorts of conversations a lot.

"Everything got worse after the war started.

"We started getting checked by the Sports Ministry for everything.

"And I realised that either it would be my last year as an athlete or I would have to leave the country."

With her prospects of competing at international competitions in doubt, Kazlouskaya agreed that she felt abandoned by the IOC.

"Yes, there is that sense," she said.

"They just left us, the people who suffered under the regime.

"They didn't do anything."

The National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the Republic of Belarus (NOCRB) has been hit by several sanctions by the IOC, and it does not recognise the election of Viktor Lukashenko - the son of Alexander Lukashenko - as President, but the body has avoided suspension.

In response to the claims of Kazlouskaya and Tsimanouskaya, the IOC said it had taken "a number of measures" against the NOCRB, and has been "in regular contact with the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF) and the administration of the NOC of Belarus to try to address any specific issues affecting athletes and members of the Olympic community in Belarus".

It added that Tsymanouskaya was contacted by the IOC and Tokyo 2020 "immediately after being informed about the incident", and "to ensure her safety, she was accompanied by the Japanese authorities and by a Tokyo 2020 staff member", telling them "at the time that she felt safe".

The IOC said it had contacted the Polish NOC, which "contacted the Polish authorities to facilitate her evacuation to Poland", and that Tsymanouskaya had been supported by "the Olympic Movement, represented by the Polish NOC and the Polish Athletics Federation" while in Poland.

Dissident Belarusian athletes have criticised the IOC's hopes for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals at Paris 2024, describing the criteria as
Dissident Belarusian athletes have criticised the IOC's hopes for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals at Paris 2024, describing the criteria as "insufficient" ©Getty Images

It also pointed to the revocation of the accreditations of two Belarusian coaches at Tokyo 2020, and the AIU's investigation had received the "full collaboration and support of the IOC".

"The Polish Athletics Federation is applying to World Athletics for a change of sports nationality, so that she can represent Poland in international athletics events and seek to qualify for the Olympic Games Paris 2024," the IOC told insidethegames

"She is supported by the Polish NOC and the Polish Athletics Federation. 

"Olympic Solidarity scholarships can be granted only after an application by the respective National Olympic Committee.

"Athletes can also benefit from a Refugee Athlete Scholarship. 

"In order to be eligible for a scholarship and to be selected as part of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, an athlete needs to be recognised as a refugee in their country of domicile.  

"Finally, it is important to highlight once again that the day-to-day relationships with the individual athletes of the Olympic Movement are handled by the respective NOCs and the national sports federations in their territories. 

"Together with the IOC, the athletes and the International Federations, they are part of the Olympic Movement."

Kazlouskaya and Tsimanouskaya were among the 48 Lukashenko opponents within sport who called on the IOC to introduce an "Anti-War Declaration" to determine who can compete internationally earlier this month.

Russian and Belarusian athletes have been largely excluded from international sport since the widely-condemned invasion of Ukraine in February last year under IOC recommendations, but the Lausanne-based organisation has vowed to "explore a pathway" for their return under "strict conditions" of neutrality.

Through the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, dissident athletes argued the criteria established was "insufficient", but insisted "Belarusian free athletes should be granted the right to participate in sports competitions and saved from persecution by the Lukashenko regime for their civic position".

Polish Sports Minister Kamil Bortniczuk has suggested dissident Russian and Belarusian athletes could compete as part of an IOC team of refugees at Paris 2024.