British Gymnastics chief executive Allen to retire in December

(Reuters) - British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen will retire from her role in December after 10 years at the helm, the governing body said on Tuesday, amid allegations of abuse and bullying in the sport.

Allen, 65, was originally set to retire after the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed to 2021, and stayed in the role through the COVID-19 pandemic as more allegations of abuse surfaced.

Britain's Olympic medal-winning gymnast Amy Tinkler and others have since spoken out about their experiences with British Gymnastics, accusing coaches of bullying and "body shaming".

The governing body has opened an independent review to investigate the allegations.

"The last few months have been extremely difficult, but I will look back on my time with British Gymnastics with great pride for the growth and success we have sustained over a ten-year period," Allen said in a statement

"The Whyte review will be an important step forward for gymnastics and other sports struggling to deal effectively with these issues."

In an interview with the BBC, Allen admitted that British Gymnastics had failed to protect athletes and apologised to those who had been hurt by the organisation.

"I feel devastated by what they've gone through," she said. "They've been very brave to stand up and speak out.

"They've found their voice, I think the athletes are probably the best people that could speak out on these matters. I think them speaking up will make things better for the next generation."

Allen previously served as the CEO of Gymnastics Australia for 13 years.

British Gymnastics chair Mike Darcey said Allen would be working with the legal team on their initial submission to the Whyte review.

An interim chief executive is set to be announced at a later date.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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