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The Olympic-relay controversy is key to the defection of the Belarusian sprinter

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Written by Gabriel Tetro-Farber and Mitch Phillips

WARSAW/TOkyo (Reuters) – Olympic runner Kristina Tsimanoskaya walked thousands of miles because she didn’t want to run the 400 metres.

The 24-year-old Belarusian was kicked out of the Tokyo Olympics by her team and taken to the airport against her will final Sunday following she publicly complained about her coaches entering the 4x400m relay days prior the event.

I refused to board the plane Return trip and since Then she sought refugee status in Poland, fearing for her safety if she returned to Belarus.

Belarus entered Tsimanouskaya in the relay scheduled for August 3. 5 to replace one of two runners who were deemed ineligible to compete because they had not undergone adequate doping testing.

Tsimanoskaya was scheduled to run the 200m on August 1. 2, the day following she was removed from the team. The Belarus Olympic Committee said she was sent home on the advice of doctors regarding her emotional and psychological state.

But Tsimanskaya told Reuters she would be sent home to speak to her about The neglect of our coaches” and that she entered the relay without her knowledge.

Few athletes who excel in short sprints can add the speed stamina needed to compete at the 400m distance, which is widely regarded as one of the most demanding distances. Doing this without any preparation will be very firm.

“Around 200m runners are going towards speed and endurance, while about 200m is going more towards short distances,” Jamaica coach Maurice Wilson told Reuters.

“You can also classify short runners who run 200 meters and longer runners who can run 100 meters but can also triumph the 200 meters.”

Stuart Macmillan, a coach who works with some of the world’s best sprinters, said Tsimanoskaya’s participation in the relay might have affected her 200m performance had she not been left out of the team ahead of the event.

“She had a realistic chance of getting to the semi-finals,” MacMillan told Reuters in an email. “If they asked her to be a part of the relay weeks in advance, maybe she could adjust her programming to suit her. But if they asked her the day prior or the day prior, that was unacceptable — and unfair.”

risk of injury

John Regis was a predominantly 200-meter runner and won several Olympic and World Championship medals for Britain in both the 4 x 100 meters and 4 x 400 metres. He often ran at the alike event, and said he was “scared” of the lengthy distance.

“I might get world and European gold medals from running the 4x400m, but I think I ran the 400m individual about four times in my career,” he said. “I hated it. I would hit 300 and it would feel as if my whole body was on fire.”

Usain Bolt was often touted as potentially a flawless fit for the 400 metres, but the Jamaican forever dismissed the suggestion by saying the one-lap event was too painful.

Some athletes said Tsimanouskaya’s objections to having to run the event without distance training were legitimate.

“400 meters is a completely distinct distance from Kristina’s,” Andrei Krauchanka, the Belarusian decathlete silver medalist at the 2008 Olympics, told Reuters. “Running 400 meters can harm your health, it’s daft work.”

“Christina has absolutely no blame for this situation. It’s not her fault that the relay broke down.”

The hastily assembled Belarusian team finished final with a distance of 4x400m in the semi-finals, more than 11 seconds behind first-placed Jamaica.

“They should have at fewest warned her in advance, and given her a chance to prepare,” said Alexandra Heracemenya, a previous Olympic swimmer who heads the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation, a group that supports athletes imprisoned or marginalized for their political views.

“When athletes compete in an event that is not theirs, they can get injured. Anything can happen.” (Reporting by Gabriel Tetro-Farber in Warsaw and Mitch Phillips in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Caiune Raynor in Kingston; Editing by Lincoln Fest.)

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