News : Olympic medalist Krauchanka on hunger strike in Belarus
Belarusian athlete Andréi Krauchanka, silver in decathlon at the Beijing Olympic Games, declared himself on hunger strike on Tuesday and he also put one of his medals up for sale, as a show of support for the political prisoners of the Alexandr Lukashenko regime. “I do not advise anyone to imitate me, but it is very difficult to digest the horrible Belarusian reality. May the force be with you, ”he wrote in a video message on Telegram sent to Efe by the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Fund.
Krauchanka, what lost his job and was expelled from the national team for supporting anti-government protests against fraud in the presidential elections of August 2020, recalls the horror he still feels after being arrested on November 8, 2020. “My family thought I had disappeared. For four days my lawyer had no information about where I was or what had happened to me, “he said.
10 days of arrest
In addition to being 14 hours against the wall in a police station, during his ten days of administrative arrest he received neither food nor clothes and returned home with coronavirus. KGB major, Krauchanka regrets that arrests have become “routine” in the former Soviet republic.
“Six months after my release I remember every day that I spent (in prison). I know how hard it is for the relatives of political prisoners, ”he explains. For all this, he decided to fast and put on sale the gold medal he achieved in the heptalon test at the European indoor laying held in Paris in 2011.
More than 2,000 athletes against police brutality
“It is really special for me, as I won it competing with a serious injury. It was painful, but now it hurts a hundred times more. That is also why I decided to announce a ten-day hunger strike in solidarity with political prisoners, ”he said. Krauchanka, 35, is one of more than 2,000 Belarusian athletes who have signed an open letter against police brutality directed at Lukashenko, in power since 1994.
At the time, he declared that he did not want to compete for his country anymore and was considering playing the Tokyo Games under the Olympic flag if he achieved the minimum mark. Krauchanka is also a member of the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Fund, whose founder, Belarusian swimmer Aliaksandra Herasimenia, also sold her 2012 Istanbul World Cup gold medal on eBay to support the opposition.
The Belarusian was also European outdoor champion at Zurich 2014 and world indoor runner-up at Valencia 2008 and Copot 2014.