People’s champion: Belarus basketball star jailed over election ...

Sport

People’s champion: Belarus basketball star jailed over election protest

Olympian Yelena Leuchanka joins 1,000 others to sign letter for change after protest lands her in a cell for 15 days

Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber

Belarus basketball star Yelena Leuchanka has twice represented her country at the Olympic Games, but until 2020 she had always stayed out of politics. That changed abruptly when Belarus was engulfed by protests.

When she joined a street demonstration against president Alexander Lukashenko, one of the country’s best-known athletes found herself arrested and jailed in a lice-ridden cell.

Released after 15 days, the former centre, who played four seasons in the US Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), has added her name to an open letter of protest signed by nearly 1,000 Belarusian sports figures...

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