The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday said it has “cancelled and removed” the accreditations of two Belarusian coaches found to be involved in the case of sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya.

The IOC said the accreditations of Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich were removed on Thursday night and that they have left the Olympic Village upon its request.

”This was in the interest of the well-being of the athletes of the [National Olympic Committee] of Belarus who are still in Tokyo and as a provisional measure.”

“They will be offered an opportunity to be heard,” the IOC tweeted.

Timanovskaya was allegedly kidnapped by Belarusian authorities in Tokyo in an attempt to force her to fly back to Belarus from the Olympic Games.

This had followed comments she made on social media criticising Belarusian coaches.

The IOC earlier in the week launched a formal investigation into Timanovskaya’s case.

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It said this was to “clarify the circumstances around the incident” and the roles played by Shimak, the deputy director of the national training centre, and Maisevich, Belarus’s head athletics coach.

The sprinter arrived in Warsaw on Wednesday after having been granted a humanitarian visa by Poland.

The Olympian told German tabloid Bild that her comments had not been of a political nature and that her only criticism was of the coaches deciding on the relay team without consulting the athletes.

“I never thought the incident could spiral so far and become a political scandal,” she had added.

Timanovskaya’s rough treatment at the hands of her own country’s sports authorities has shocked the international community.

The scandal could have serious consequences for Minsk.(dpa/NAN)