Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya, who refused to fly back to her home country on Sunday, is safe and in the care of the authorities.

This was confirmed by the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee in Tokyo on Monday.

Japan's government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said the athlete was safe with the help of relevant organizations.

Work on confirming their intentions and wishes.

Patrick Welter

Correspondent for business and politics in Japan, based in Tokyo.

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The IOC had contact with her again on Monday morning, IOC spokesman Mark Adams told journalists.

"She feels safe," said Adams.

Adams was silent about details of the incident.

The IOC asked the Belarusian NOK to explain the incident in writing.

According to her own statements, the athlete was brought against her will by the Belarusian team from the Olympic Village to Haneda Airport on Sunday in order to fly home from there.

At the airport she sought protection from the police.

This also made the organizers of the games and the IOC aware of the case.

"We don't know what happened in the Olympic village on Sunday evening," said Japanese organizing committee spokesman Masa Takaya in response to reports that the athlete had been kidnapped.

IOC is still investigating the case

According to the Olympic rules, the IOC is responsible for the safety of the athletes in the Olympic village.

IOC spokesman Adams dodged questions, pointing out that the details of the case are still being investigated.

The statement by Timanowskaya that it was a kidnapping, the Japanese authorities are aware of the extent to which this gives rise to a criminal investigation, is outside the jurisdiction of the IOC, said Adams.

According to Adams, Timanovskaya is also in contact with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Belarusian opposition groups are reporting that they want to apply for asylum in Germany or Austria. Jakub Kulhanek, the foreign minister of the Czech Republic, tweeted on Sunday that he thinks dealing with Timoanovskaya is scandalous, the Czech government is offering its help and the Czech embassy in Tokyo is ready to do so.

Timanovskaya said on social media on Sunday in a video that has now been deleted that she was being threatened and pressured to return home. She was supposed to be competing in the 200-meter race this Monday. The Belarusian NOK had also nominated the athlete for the 400-meter relay race on Tuesday. Perhaps the stumbling block was because the athlete criticized this decision on social media and made the connection that some runners from Belarus cannot travel because they did not have enough anti-doping tests to show.

The Reuters news agency reported that Timanovskaya had written to one of its reporters that a Belarusian trainer had come to her apartment in the Olympic village on Sunday and asked her to pack her things.

"The head coach came and said he had orders from above that I had to leave," Reuters quoted the athlete as saying.

"At five in the afternoon I was told that I had to pack and that I was going to the airport. But I will not be returning to Belarus."

In a statement by the Belarusian NOK, quoted from Reuters, it is said that Timanovskaya was "withdrawn" after doctors advised it because of her "emotional, psychological state".

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko was forced to relinquish the leadership of the country's national Olympic committee last year after oppositional athletes drew the IOC's attention to the persecution, detention and mistreatment of athletes who protested against Lukashenko and its executive organs had expressed crushed protests against the rulers in Minsk and for democracy after the presidential election last August.

The IOC does not recognize the successor he has chosen to make his son Viktor NOK President. Alexander and Viktor Lukashenko are banned from all Olympic activities, which means that they were also denied travel to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. In addition, after protests by oppositional athletes, Belarus was withdrawn from some international sporting events that were supposed to take place in the country, including co-hosting the ice hockey World Cup in May.