From the Athletics Integrity Unit’s (AIU) press release Tuesday, the organization announced the ban of former Belarus Olympic head coach, Yury Moisevich. He has been banned for five years by a Disciplinary Tribunal, after being found in breach of the World Athletics’ Integrity Code of Conduct, stemming from Krystsina Tsimanouskaya’s controversial withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympic Games in August 2021.

The Tribunal found that 63-year-old Moisevich violated the Integrity Standard for ‘Dignity’ after his actions were adjudged to be a “a clear affront to the Athlete’s dignity and an abuse of power” – and that he also contravened the Integrity Standard for ‘Honesty’ by “providing false or inaccurate information in the course of events leading up to the Athlete’s departure from the Olympic Village” and thereby failing to “act with the utmost integrity and honesty at all times including acting in good faith.” 

What happened in Tokyo

Tsimanouskaya used her phone to translate a plea for help and showed it to Japanese police as she tried to avoid being forced onto a plane.

The 24-year-old was forced to miss her Olympic 200m race on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. She alleges that Belarusian officials attempted to forcibly make her leave without her consent. Although stripped of their accreditation, Moisevich and Shumak, were still able to have contact with Belarusian athletes.

Tsimanouskaya said she was told to pack her bags on the Sunday after she posted a message on social media criticizing the way her team was being managed. She said team officials told her to say she was injured and had to go home early.

She spoke briefly to her grandmother, who said there was a massive backlash against her in the media in Belarus, including reports that she was mentally ill. Her grandmother advised her not to return. Her parents suggested she could go to Poland. 

Thomas Bach, IOC president said the IOC was very happy that Tsimanouskaya, who is now in Warsaw, Poland after being granted a humanitarian visa by the country, is safe and she is with her family after Belarusian coaches tried to send her home against her will.

A joint statement made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Athletics on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, confirmed an investigation of the Belarusian coach.

The NOCRB has been hit with several sanctions by the IOC after failing to protect athletes who had protested against President Alexander Lukashenko.

Human rights and campaign groups said the Tsimanouskaya case amounted to kidnap and urged the IOC to suspend the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus.

Yuri Maisevich, the Belarus athletics head coach, and official Artur Shimak were requested to leave the Olympic Village during the Tokyo Olympic Games. Their role in the sudden departure from the Olympic village by athlete Tsimanouskaya was the cause for the investigation.

The ban

The coach, who retired last May, has been immediately barred from participation in any capacity in any aspect of athletics or any activity under the ambit of World Athletics or its Area Associations and Member Federations.

“This ruling represents a significant success for the rights of athletes in the sport of athletics and sends a clear signal that the Athletics Integrity Unit will do its utmost to protect those rights and the sport’s core values,” said AIU Chair David Howman.

“The dignity of all athletes is of paramount importance and every attempt must be made to guarantee the environment in which they compete is free of harassment, abuse and bad faith dealings of any kind.”

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