Olympic exile Kristina Timanovskaya wore a t-shirt bearing her now-familiar message of ‘I just want to run’ and posed with other athletes after taking part in the Wieslav Manyak Memorial event in Szczecin.
The race was her first competitive outing since the 24-year-old became embroiled in a sporting and diplomatic row earlier this month, receiving a humanitarian visa to live in Poland after refusing to fly to Minsk despite organizers from her national team ordering her to leave Tokyo after she publicly criticized them.
Timanovskaya finished a creditable third in the 100m and 200m races, admitting that she had expected the experience to be “hard” after more than a fortnight without training as a result of her high-profile ordeal.
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“Of course, I hoped for fast times – I always aim for them, regardless of the situation,” said the 200m specialist who is currently living under protection, speaking to Gazeta.
“But even after 100 meters, I felt bad – the body cannot be fooled. Mine is emaciated and has lost the shape it was in three weeks ago.
“I was missing my starting reactions, explosion and speed endurance. Three weeks without training is a lot for a sprinter.
“Now I need a rest, then I will start preparing for the new season. And, of course, I would like to return to my usual way of life here in Poland.”
The hopeful for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games feared punishment including incarceration if she returned to her homeland. Her personal trainer husband fled Belarus for Ukraine.