MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - The British Athletes Commission (BAC), which represents the country’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes, has called for an investigation of allegations of bullying and abuse within British gymnastics.
British media reports have cited allegations from a number of ex-gymnasts describing abusive behaviour from coaches and staff.
“We are deeply troubled to hear the comments made by some British athletes relating to culture and welfare issues within British Gymnastics,” the BAC said in a statement on Tuesday.
“No athlete should be expected to tolerate an abuse of power or poor practice. The performance environment should be a place of mutual trust and respect where athletes are supported in achieving their best.
“The BAC is worried to hear of athlete experiences which appear not to reflect these standards and would urge that any allegations are investigated thoroughly.”
The sport’s governing body, British Gymnastics, said it was encouraging any gymnasts, past or present, who has concerns to contact their Integrity Unit.
“British Gymnastics condemns any behaviour which is harmful to the wellbeing of our gymnasts. Such behaviours are completely contrary to our standards of safe coaching. Our Positive Coaching Behaviours programme, which is mandatory for all coaches, sets out clearly why such behaviours are harmful and unacceptable.
“Our Integrity Unit investigates all allegations reported to us or identified by our national network of club welfare officers and takes disciplinary action to prevent recurrence.”
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar