Darya Dolidovich flees Belarus; Brendan Kerry to shoot for gold

Last month she was denied the right to compete internationally and now she’s fled her country.

Fear hangs over 17-year-old Belarusian cross-country skier Darya Dolidovich after she confirmed to Reuters that she and her family broke away to Poland, rattling the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The saga traces back to Dolidovich’s father, former Olympian Segei Dolidovich, repeatedly speaking out against the tyrannical regime of state leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarus, formerly a federal unit of the Soviet Union, is being torn apart by a crackdown on protests against Lukashenko, who clinched a polarising victory in a 2020 election.

Many athletes and coaches have been barred from national teams and some have even been jailed.

Darya’s Beijing Olympic dream was destroyed when Belarusian officials deactivated her International Ski Federation code, wiping her from the Games despite the fact she had qualified.

“I couldn’t have imagined, even in a nightmare, that I would end up leaving my country three to four months ago,” Darya told Reuters.

“It feels like tomorrow I’ll take the plane or car back.

“I had planned to finish school in Belarus, but my parents said that we were moving. I think it’s for the best for my father, as well.

Belarusian Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was embroiled in the political chaos of her country during last year’s Tokyo Games, with the sprinter being forced to leave after criticising Belarus’ governing athletics body.

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