Finland President of the Sports Federation Sami Itani has followed the Belarusian runner Krystsina Tsimanouskajan alley running at the Tokyo Olympics.
“It is shocking that this will happen so close to Finland in 2021.”
An attempt was made to forcibly return the runner to his home country after criticizing the leadership of his national team on social media.
Read more: The Belarusian runner angered the country’s leadership and no longer intends to return home – this is a case that highlighted the situation in Belarus.
According to Itan, it is quite common for athletes to criticize the sports leadership of their countries, especially in this era of social media. Less frequently, cases even exceed the news threshold.
And there was reason to criticize the sports management. According to Itan, it is ridiculous that an athlete who has never run a 400-meter post will have to run it at the Olympics because some of the country’s runners did not get permission to participate due to inadequate doping testing.
Open is that the sports leadership of Belarus is the president of the country Alexander Lukashenko under control. The country’s Olympic Committee is chaired by the president’s son Viktor Lukashenko. Therefore, even the slightest criticism took on a large scale.
“The fact that the consequences are like this is a characteristic of dictatorships. Typically, in a dictatorship, an athlete’s Movement Space is non-existent if he wants to play sports and take care of his family. ”
The case itself did not surprise Itan, as he has followed the events in Belarus quite closely through his good friend.
“This is fully in line with what has happened to athletes in Belarus over the last year as well. Unfortunately, I have had to see a good friend of the oppression of athletes in Belarus Andrei Kravtshenkon through.”
It is brutal and brutal how dissidents and civic activists are treated there. ”
Decathlon multiple honorary medalist Kravtshenko was arrested last November for participating in anti-government protests.
“He, his wife and children are under constant threat. He has lost his job and opportunity in sports in Belarus. It is brutal and brutal how dissidents and civic activists are treated there. ”
Kravtshenko has visited Itan several times in Finland, but Itani has never visited Belarus. There has been talk of a return visit, but the current situation is not very favorable.
“I would not leave in this situation when I have publicly criticized Belarus and their administration here in Finland. I don’t think I would be a very welcome guest there. ”
Mixed father and son Lukashenko have a gate ban on the Tokyo Olympics because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Belarusian officials from attending the Olympics.
Itani considers the IOC’s activities to be poor.
“There is no case for interpretation of how the Olympic Committee in Belarus is linked to state policy. I think it is a fairly light punishment not to send officials to the Games from there. ”
According to Itan, the IOC could have considered the right sanctions and the possibility of denying the country the organization of or participation in various events if the activities did not change.
No similar cases have been seen in the racing arenas, or at least no such cases have come to light. The IOC will now have to consider the consequences of treating a runner for Belarus. Itani does not expect too much from further action.
“Surely the IOC will comment on the matter in its familiar diplomatic style that they are investigating the case. I can’t say where it will lead. ”
“Surely the IOC will comment on this in its familiar diplomatic style.”
Discourse The human rights situation in Belarus became hot last in the summer and in autumn. Since then, media attention has subsided. Itani hopes that the international spotlight will be re-extended to the chaotic human rights situation in Belarus.
“Hopefully now, with the example of an innocent athlete, it will be noticed that the situation is really worrying and for no reason has it changed. Athletes are people where others are. If an athlete has a non-existent Movement Mode, then why would others be better off? ” Itani says.
Read more: This is how Belarusian sports leaders “persuaded” an asylum-seeking sprinter – hinted at jumping off the balcony
Last spotlight focused on Belarus in connection with sports during the World Hockey Championships, when the competitions were originally to be held in both Latvia and Belarus, but eventually the Games moved entirely to Latvia.
“It was also a protest from the International Hockey Federation that the door was kept open until the last time until it was no longer possible to compete there.”
During the Games, Belarus also hijacked a passenger plane, which was flying through state airspace, to arrest the reporter Raman Pratasevich. Pratasevich is a long-standing political activist, who has worked in various opposition media in the country at home and abroad. The case was widely condemned internationally.
Read more: Raman Pratasevich, who was arrested on a Ryanair flight, has been placed under house arrest in Belarus
Read more: US bans passenger flights to Belarus: “Serves political interests”
Sporting events have been allowed to act as peepholes for a dictatorship.
“You can think of it that sport opens a window for the general international audience to look at the situation of the people of Belarus in this case from the point of view of civil rights,” Itani says.
He points out that Tsimanouskaya is hardly the only athlete who might have something to say, but not an opportunity to do so.
“I stress that there are other dictatorships competing there, and there is visually quiet. I have to appreciate an athlete who, by recognizing the risks, dared to use his own voice, even if it was just a matter of judging the athletic management on completely understandable grounds. ”