Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has now landed in Poland, where she is to take refuge after saying she feared for her life if forced to return home

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has now landed in Poland, where she is to take refuge after saying she feared for her life if forced to return home.

The Polish airline LOT flight from Vienna, where she stopped over on her way from Tokyo, landed in Warsaw at 8:11pm local time, according to the arrivals screen at Warsaw Airport. 

Tsimanouskaya left Tokyo’s Narita airport this morning after seeking sanctuary at the city’s Polish embassy after Belarusian officials tried to bundle her onto a flight to Minsk. 

The 24-year-old made a last-minute decision to travel through Austria over concerns about being intercepted by Belarusian officials.

She arrived Vienna Airport on Wednesday at 3.08pm local time on an Austrian Airlines flight before boarding another plane heading to Warsaw this evening where Polish authorities offered her a humanitarian visa.

Tsimanouskaya, wearing a pink face mask, a blue jumper and jeans, was seen speaking to Austria’s deputy environment minister Magnus Brunner after she landed in the country.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya (centre in blue jumper) arrives at the tarmac to board a LOT plane from Vienna to Warsaw

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya (centre in blue jumper) arrives at the tarmac to board a LOT plane from Vienna to Warsaw

Pictured: The Polish airline LOT flight from Vienna, where Tsimanouskaya stopped over on her way from Tokyo, landed in Warsaw at 8:11pm local time, according to the arrivals screen at Warsaw Airport

Pictured: The Polish airline LOT flight from Vienna, where Tsimanouskaya stopped over on her way from Tokyo, landed in Warsaw at 8:11pm local time, according to the arrivals screen at Warsaw Airport

Belarusian Olympic athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, wearing a pink face mask, a blue jumper and jeans, was seen speaking to Austria's deputy environment minister Magnus Brunner after she landed in Vienna

Belarusian Olympic athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, wearing a pink face mask, a blue jumper and jeans, was seen speaking to Austria’s deputy environment minister Magnus Brunner after she landed in Vienna

She arrived at Vienna Airport on Wednesday at 3.08pm local time on an Austrian Airlines flight and will board another plane heading to Warsaw in Poland on a humanitarian visa this evening

She arrived at Vienna Airport on Wednesday at 3.08pm local time on an Austrian Airlines flight and will board another plane heading to Warsaw in Poland on a humanitarian visa this evening

A van is seen after an Austrian Airlines plane from Tokyo carrying Tsimanouskaya arrived at the Vienna airport

A van is seen after an Austrian Airlines plane from Tokyo carrying Tsimanouskaya arrived at the Vienna airport

Austrian foreign ministry spokesman told reporters at Vienna’s Schwechat airport that Tsimanouskaya had been accompanied on the first flight by Polish officials.

A VIP van followed by two police vehicles were waiting to esenyurt escort Tsimanouskaya from the plane.  

‘She is safe and is doing well under the circumstances,’ Brunner told reporters after speaking with Tsimanouskaya.

‘She is tired but we had a good conversation. She says she is worried about what happens next.’ 

The athlete had been expected to fly directly from Tokyo to Warsaw but, amid concerns that Belarusian officials may still make efforts to snatch her, she changed plans at the last minute and took a flight heading to the Austrian capital of Vienna instead.   

‘According to our information, she is scheduled to head to Warsaw this evening,’ an Austrian foreign ministry spokesman said, adding that should she ‘want to make an asylum application in Austria, she can of course count on our support’. 

The late switch to the Vienna flight came after her supporters expressed concerns about her safety even in the air – after Belarus forced a flight from Athens to Lithuania which skirted its borders to divert to Minsk in May using a bogus bomb threat.

On board was journalist Roman Protasevich, a fierce critic of President Alexander Lukashenko, who was hauled off when it landed and thrown into jail.

The International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday it had launched a formal probe into Tsimanouskaya’s case and was expecting a report from Belarus.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime of intolerable ‘transnational repression’ in the matter.

A Belarusian sprinter arrived at a Tokyo airport on Wednesday after leaving the Polish embassy, where she had taken refuge in a diplomatic twist at the Tokyo Olympics

A Belarusian sprinter arrived at a Tokyo airport on Wednesday after leaving the Polish embassy, where she had taken refuge in a diplomatic twist at the Tokyo Olympics

Tsimanouskaya, 24, had been due to compete in the women's 200 metre heats on Monday. Pictured at the airport today

Tsimanouskaya, 24, had been due to compete in the women’s 200 metre heats on Monday.Pictured at the airport today

She said the Belarusian head coach had turned up at her room on Sunday at the athletes' village and told her she had to leave after she had criticised team officials. Pictured: At the airport today

She said the Belarusian head coach had turned up at her room on Sunday at the athletes' village and told her she had to leave after she had criticised team officials. Pictured: At the airport today

She said the Belarusian head coach had turned up at her room on Sunday at the athletes’ village and told her she had to leave after she had criticised team officials.Pictured: At the airport today

A flight from Narita International to Warsaw was scheduled to leave at 10.20am local time. The route it usually takes goes over Russia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but narrowly avoids Belarusian airspace

A flight from Narita International to Warsaw was scheduled to leave at 10.20am local time.The route it usually takes goes over Russia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but narrowly avoids Belarusian airspace

The Belarusian sprinter early on Wednesday left the Polish embassy in Tokyo, where she had sought protection after refusing her team's orders to return home

The Belarusian sprinter early on Wednesday left the Polish embassy in Tokyo, where she had sought protection after refusing her team’s orders to return home

A darkened van left the compound with police escort around 7.05am after luggage had been loaded into another van

A darkened van left the compound with police escort around 7.05am after luggage had been loaded into another van

A police official confirmed Tsimanouskaya was in the vehicle. She was expected to go to Poland, her supporters have said. Warsaw has offered her a humanitarian visa

A police official confirmed Tsimanouskaya was in the vehicle.She was expected to go to Poland, her supporters have said. Warsaw has offered her a humanitarian visa

A car beleived to be carrying Belarus athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who claimed her team tried to force her to leave Japan following a row during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, leaves the Polish embassy in Tokyo

A car beleived to be carrying Belarus athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who claimed her team tried to force her to leave Japan following a row during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, leaves the Polish embassy in Tokyo

<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS news" data-version="2" id="mol-4627de80-f532-11eb-88f6-f1037e158c9a" website sprinter arrives in Warsaw to seek asylum

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