In response to Timanovskaya, representatives of the Belarus nationwide crew tried to forcibly ship her again to her dwelling nation after she criticized sporting authorities in an Instagram put up on Friday. The 24-year-old athlete, citing concern she may be jailed, refused to board the flight from Japan on Monday — and was granted a humanitarian visa from Poland that very same day.
The Belarusian Nationwide Olympic Committee has stated that Timanovskaya was withdrawn from the Video games attributable to her “emotional and psychological state.”
CNN spoke with Timanovskaya on how her week unfolded.
Q: Inform us extra in regards to the journey to the airport on Monday
Timanovskaya: There have been two males who escorted me to the airport. Certainly one of them was a consultant of our NOC (Nationwide Olympic Committee) and the second was somebody from our crew — possibly a physician or a psychologist. They did not say something to me, they simply took my suitcase and took me to the airport.
What made you resolve to not board the flight?
Earlier than I received into the automobile, my grandmother referred to as me. She stated that I shouldn’t return to Belarus as a result of it was not secure for me there. She stated they have been saying unhealthy issues about me on (state-run) tv: That I used to be ailing; that I had psychological issues.
My mother and father understood that in the event that they stated these kind of issues about me on TV, that I may most certainly not return to my dwelling in Belarus… I do not know the place they might take me. Possibly to jail, or possibly, extra doubtless, to a psychological hospital.
On the airport, I used a translation app on my telephone to sort that I wanted assist. I discovered a policeman and confirmed him my telephone.
Did you think about all this could occur on account of your Instagram put up?
No. I did not agree with the choice of our coach, who had determined that I ought to run the relays with out my consent.
Once I tried to speak with them, they ignored me. My trainers stated it was not their resolution to ship me dwelling — that it was simply stated to them to do that. My trainers did not inform me who instructed them to ship me dwelling.
When did you understand that your life in Belarus would by no means be the identical?
It occurred after I acquired the decision from my grandmother. Earlier than that, I assumed that possibly I may return dwelling with no drawback. However after the statements have been made about me on TV, I spotted it might be harmful.
I used to be actually stunned that these statements have been made about me on TV as I did not discuss politics or in regards to the authorities. It was an enormous shock.
I actually do not need to say something in regards to the president, about politics. I want to steer clear of this subject. I need to proceed my sporting profession and do what I can do.
How do you’re feeling about lacking out on the Video games?
I’m upset that I used to be denied my likelihood to be within the Olympics. I used to be prepared for the video games, particularly for the 200 meters. They took away my dream of performing on the Olympics. They took this opportunity away from me.
I need to proceed my sporting profession. I’m already serious about the following Olympic video games.
What’s your message for the individuals of Belarus?
Don’t be afraid, at all times state your opinion. We have now to have freedom of speech and other people should state their opinion.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.
CNN’s Kara Fox contributed to this report.