Darya Dolidovich, a 17-year-old cross-country skier from Belarus, has been accused of aiding the country’s political opposition and has fled the country with her family after being forbidden from competing in the winter games.
The juvenile athlete is the daughter of seven-time Olympian cross-country skier Sergey Dalidovich, who recently participated in an opposition street rally and spoke out against President Alexander Lukashenko.
Fearing retaliation from the authorities, Darya and her family have fled to Poland. Sergey Dalidovich, her father, informed a news outlet that “Darya’s permission to participate in sports and compete has been revoked following a response from Belarus’s main organisation. I don’t think she’ll be able to continue her career in Belarus because everything happened for such fabricated reasons. I don’t think she’ll be able to do what she loves and realise her ambition.”
Darya later explained, “I had planned to finish high school in Belarus, but my parents said we were moving,” and added, “I think it’s for the best for my father as well, i’m upset of course it would have been simpler to stay a few months and finish middle school here I don’t know how to do it we are only working on it we are only working on it.”
Natalia Dalidovich is one of Belarus’ most promising young cross-country skiers, however her FIS code has been deactivated by the international ski federation. The ski union has not said why this decision was made. Daria Dalladovich intends to complete her education in Poland, as well as her training.
The departure of the Davidovich family from Belarus comes only days before the Beijing Winter Olympics, when the Belarusian national team is under examination, as well as the defection of sprinter Kristina Simoniscaya at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Last week, the US imposed visa restrictions on several Belarusian nationals, citing quote-unquote extraterritorial counter-dissident activity; another Belarusian cross-country skier had her Olympic licence revoked due to her political views; and several elite Belarusian athletes have been jailed or kicked out of national teams for voicing opposition and for participating in protests in 2020.
(Image Source: CNN, The Indepedent)