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Belarusian runner Krystsina Tsimanouskaya granted Polish citizenship after OIympic defection

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who sought political asylum in Europe last year after criticising Belarusian officials at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, has been granted Polish citizenship. The Olympian made the announcement on her Instagram page.

Photo: Krystsina Tsimanouskaya's Instagram account

“An incredibly difficult season is coming to an end for me with a wonderful victory at the Polish Club Championships. I'm insanely happy to represent my club and to finally travel to competitions freely — unfortunately, not as a Belarusian — but sometimes you have to sacrifice something to stand on the podium again,” — wrote the athlete.

She posted a photo of the documents confirming her Polish citizenship.

During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya criticised Belarusian officials, who had entered her in the 4 x 400 m relay race — a distance she had never contested — without her consent.

The Belarusian Olympic Committee then decided to withdraw Tsimanouskaya from the competition due to her "emotional and psychological state” and attempted to forcibly return her to Belarus. After contacting airport police, the runner sought political asylum in Europe and was subsequently granted a humanitarian visa in Poland.

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