A number of British gymnasts have come forward with claims of physical and mental abuse, including one who was beaten with a stick, left alone in a store cupboard and starved for a week.
In response, British Gymnastics has announced a review which will be conducted by Jane Mulcahy QC, who has 25 years’ experience working in the civil courts, arbitration and sports tribunals, including the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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Jane Allen, CEO of British Gymnastics, said: “The behaviours we have heard about in recent days are completely contrary to our standards of safe coaching and have no place in our sport. The British Gymnastics Integrity Unit is set up to investigate all allegations when reported or identified by our national network of club and regional Welfare Officers.
“However, it is clear that gymnasts did not feel they could raise their concerns to British Gymnastics and it is vital that an Independent Review helps us better understand why so we can remove any barriers as quickly as possible.
“There is nothing more important for British Gymnastics than the welfare of our gymnasts at every level of our sport and we will continually strive to create a culture where people feel they can raise any concerns that they may have.”
UK Sport have also said they will be investigating the claims.
A spokesperson said: “These allegations relating to the treatment of young athletes within gymnastics are shocking and upsetting. There is absolutely no place for any sort of bullying or abuse in sport and anyone responsible for such behaviour must be held accountable, with support offered to those affected.
“We treat safeguarding matters with the utmost importance and all our investments into national governing bodies are contingent on a sport meeting standards set out by the Child Protection in Sport Unit.”
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