The Belarusian track coach who tried to force a sprinter to return home from the Tokyo Olympics after she was critical of the team has been charged with breaching the sport’s integrity standards.
The Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees disciplinary actions in track and field, announced the charges against Yury Maisevich on Thursday, alleging he broke rules in the sport’s integrity code of conduct involving honesty, dignity and protecting reputation.
The charges stem from the ouster of 200-meter sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who went on social media during the Olympics to question why she had been entered in the 4×400 relay without her knowledge, the AIU said.
Coaches decided to send her home. As she was being guided through the Tokyo airport by team officials, Tsimanouskaya spoke on the phone to her grandmother, who told her of the backlash against her from state-run media at home, where President Alexander Lukashenko’s government cracked down on dissent.
Tsimanouskaya sought help from police, who were able to take her away from the Belarusian officials. She ended up traveling to Poland on a humanitarian visa.
Four days after the episode, the IOC revoked credentials for Maisevich and another coach, Artur Shimak. Shimak was not charged in Thursday’s AIU release.
“The AIU alleges that, in respect of these circumstances of Tsimanouskaya’s removal from the Olympic Games, Maisevich did not act with integrity and acted in bad faith; failed to safeguard the athlete’s dignity and his actions constituted verbal and mental harassment; and that he brought athletics generally into disrepute,” the release said.
The AIU did not explain what, exactly, the charges meant, what sort of hearing would be held or what the possible penalties were if Maisevich is found to have broken the rules.
Tsimanouskaya, 26, has gained Polish citizenship and has said she hopes to compete for that country at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
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