Monday, January 24

Belarus: Claiming regime criticism stopped the Olympic dream

The two Belarusian cross-country skiers Darya Dolidovich and Svyatlana Andrijuk claim they have been put on the sidelines after political accusations.

NO COMPETITIONS: Darya Dolidovich and Svyatlana Andrijuk claim they are not allowed to compete.

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The skiers claim that the leader of the Belarusian Cross-Country Federation, Alexander Darakhovich, in November ordered officials to ban them from competing internationally and attending training camps. It writes Reuters.

The reason is that they have commented critically on President Alexander Lukashenko and thus been accused of supporting the opposition, writes the news agency.

Dolidovich and Andrijuk claim in an interview with Reuters that the ski association in Belarus last month deactivated their FIS code, an individual ID number required for cross-country skiers to participate in competitions under the auspices of the International Ski Federation (FIS).

This is said to have led to Andrijuk not being given the opportunity to qualify for this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Lukashenko won the presidential election for the sixth time in August.

After the election result became clear, several news agencies reported heavy clashes between riot police and protesters in the capital Minsk.

The man who is called “Europe’s last dictator” has been in power since 1994, and in the wake of this summer’s election, there have been a number of accusations of election fraud.

Independent measurements made from abroad showed that it was the opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who won the election. None of the measurements could be confirmed independently.

During this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, he became the Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya thrown out of the toys.

Fearing for her own safety, she did not return to her homeland.

“I will not return to Belarus,” Timanovskaya told Reuters at the time.

– I fear that they will put me in jail. I’m not afraid of being kicked out of the national team. I fear for my safety. At the moment I do not think it is safe for me in Belarus, she told the Belarusian Tribuna.

Timanovskaya claims she was thrown out of the games because she had spoken out about the coaches’ neglect.

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