The exodus of athletes and their long tradition «

The exodus of athletes and their long tradition «

The case of Belarusian runner Kristina Timanovskaya is the latest in which athletes seek to escape from their homeland. A look into the past.

Of Simon Rothschild | 8.30 pm, 2nd August 2021


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Many GDR athletes fled their homeland during major events abroad. © (c) central image

Belarusian runner Christina Timnoskaja Now I do not want to return to my homeland. Previously, they wanted to force an Olympic participant from Tokyo to return home after publicly criticizing a sports official in his country. The “Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation”, representing opposition Belarusian athletes, spoke of an attempt “violent” departure, Which was probably ordered by the authoritarian regime of Belarus. Reuters news agency said the top athlete, its head coach, had “Instructions from above to remove them.”

At the airport she asked the Japanese police for help, she was afraid to go back To go to prison in Belarus. Meanwhile, the Olympian has got a humanitarian visa in Poland, where she plans to travel in the coming days. As the past shows, the escape attempt of Christina Timnoskaja is not an isolated incident. Time and again, athletes tried to use major events to avoid wars or social and/or political situations in their home countries. Many also expect better economic conditions or better training conditions.

Athletes who have disappeared from the past

The running of athletes is as old as the big events themselves. Disappeared during the last “Commonwealth Games” in 2018 Australia Eight athletes from Cameroon One third of the entire team of the Central African state. A little later seven more athletes emerged. Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone Instead of fighting for the medal. Seven rugby players went missing from Uganda during the last Commonwealth Games in Scotland. It was later revealed that they were living in a Cardiff refugee home, seeking asylum and joining a local rugby team.

In recent times it was also often Cuban athletes who fled their homeland. Cesar Prieto, One of Cuba’s greatest baseball talents performed brilliantly at a competition in the United States in April of this year: As the team bus stopped at the hotel in West Palm Beach, Cuba jumped In a waiting car. He is one of dozens of Cuban top athletes who move to the United States year after year with the hope of more freedom and lucrative professional contracts.

Since Prieto’s film-ready escape was apparently planned, it is suspected that sports consultants are behind the action. It would also not be unusual: they let their dependents obtain a residence permit in the United States, Then to smuggle them into the US Billion League. The 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto showed that these escape attempts can also lead to bizarre behavior. The following matches therefore had to be played due to lack of players: They lost 13–0 to Trinidad and Tobago.

west through the Baltic Sea

The real coup was also successful The alleged handball national team from Sri Lanka. In 2004 he accepted an invitation from a German handball club and completed a training camp in Bavaria. When it became apparent that the training guests were playing handball, they had disappeared. As it turned out later, there was no handball national team in Sri Lanka at that time.

There are many cases of athletes running away from the time of the East-West conflict famous. At that time, athletes from the Eastern Bloc tried to escape to the Western world alone between 1952 and 1989. 615 cases of athletes fleeing the GDR from ministry of state security (Stasi) are counted. Competitions abroad were mainly held to be different from home. If a journey was too bad for the line or not right for the crew, other routes of escape had to be used. former swimmer axel mitbauer To get rid of his Stasi comrades, he jumped from a moving train en route to the Baltic Sea in 1969. then he swam 22 kms West through the Baltic Sea. After his successful escape, Stasi tightened surveillance of top athletes.

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