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Ex-coach of Belarus athlete banned after Tokyo Olympics ‘abuse of power’

The former coach of sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has been banned for five years by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) after attempting to force her to return home during the Tokyo Olympics.

Tsimanouskaya, 27, claimed she was forcibly taken to an airport in Tokyo after refusing to follow the Belarus team’s orders during the Games in 2021 but managed to attract the attention of the Japanese authorities who intervened.

She eventually fled to Poland, which granted her a humanitarian visa.

Her coach, Yury Maisevich, was also found to have given inaccurate information to those investigating the incident. 

The AIU said 63-year-old Maisevich’s actions were “a clear affront to the Athlete’s dignity and an abuse of… power”.

“He also contravened the Integrity Standard for ‘Honesty’ by “providing false or inaccurate information in the course of events leading up to the Athlete’s departure from the Olympic Village” and thereby failing to “act with the utmost integrity and honesty at all times including acting in good faith”.

Maisevich, who retired last May, has been immediately barred from participating in any capacity or any activity under the auspices of the sport’s global body World Athletics or its member federations.

Tsimanouskaya, who now competes for Poland, had said she feared for her safety if forced to return to ex-Soviet Belarus, ruled by the regime of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for three decades.

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