Gymnastics-British Gymnastics outlaws weighing of young athletes in new rules, says the BBC


Trampolining - FIG World Trampoline Championships - Utilita Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, Britain - November 10, 2023 Britain's Jaydon Paddock in action during the men's tumbling team final REUTERS/Molly Darlington/ File photo

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Gymnastics coaches will no longer will be permitted to weigh young athletes under new British Gymnastics rules aimed to end practices the federation says are "on the fringes of abuse," according to a BBC report.

The new safeguarding rules to which gyms must adhere or face sanctions, the BBC reported, come after the damning 2022 Whyte Review uncovered a culture of abuse in the sport.

No gymnasts aged 10 or under can be weighed, under British Gymnastics' new rules, and athletes between 11 and 18 can only be weighed with the consent of both the gymnast and their parent or guardian.

Only sports science or medical practitioners are permitted to do the weighing, and must have scientifically valid rationale doing so such as monitoring a growth spurt.

"This is about making sure that within gymnastics, we actually don't see them as gymnasts, we see them as young people, we see them as children," British Gymnastics chief executive Sarah Powell told the BBC. "There is no desire for us to put medals above welfare."

The Whyte Review, which was commissioned by UK and Sport England, received more than 400 submissions and found that athletes were subjected to widespread physical and mental abuse in a system where such behaviour was condoned in the pursuit of national and international success.

Gymnast Eloise Jotischky told the BBC that "weighing was used as a punishment".

In June, 2022, Jotischky became the first gymnast - and to this date, the only gymnast - to win a civil case against British Gymnastics for the abuse she experienced between 2016 and 2018 from coach Andrew Griffiths, who is now banned from coaching.

Among the British Gymnastics' new rules, a new hydration rule states that preventing an athlete from drinking water or going to the toilet is "physical abuse".

And children under the age of 12 can no longer be taken out of school to train, while those over 12 can only miss school in "exceptional circumstances".

British Gymnastics' previous safeguarding interventions had not been mandatory.

(This story has been refiled to amend the spelling of British Gymnastics in the headline)

(Reporting by Lori Ewing; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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