"Hungry, thirsty, blamed and punished."  British gymnastics shaken by allegations of abuse

The investigation, led by Anne Whyte QC, was commissioned by UK Sport and Sport England in August 2020, following allegations of ill-treatment in the UK.

The 306-page report, which looked at more than 400 complaints, found that British gymnastics had suffered from a cultural problem in which young athletes were blamed for their weight, while others were severely punished for the slightest mistakes in training. .

“This behavior included physical punishment, improper injury training, imposing excessive training hours, and training tasks that led to physical pain and exhaustion beyond acceptable limits,” Whyte said.

Athletes were also barred from using the toilet and denied access to drinking water during long training sessions.

“We wonder how many sports scandals it will take before the then government realizes that it needs to take more measures to protect children who take part in sports,” Whyte added.

UK Sport and Sport England accepted the conclusions and approved all the recommendations.

“The experiences of the gymnasts shared in this analysis are heartbreaking and painful to read. No one in sports should be subjected to such abuses, “they said in a statement.

British Gymnastics, the governing body of the sport, added that it was committed to changing the sport for the better and apologized to the athletes who made the statements.

“We will not be ashamed to do what is necessary. I want to apologize wholeheartedly to the gymnasts who have suffered as a result of not working to the standards we have set. Sorry, “said Executive Director Sarah Powell.

“There is no room for abuse of any kind in our sport, and the coaching standards of the past will not be the standards of the future. We will build a new culture and make sure that the voice of gymnasts is at the heart of everything we do. ”

The British athletes have won 15 gymnastics medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, having previously climbed the Olympic podium only three times.

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