Beth Tweddle says 'no place for bullying or abuse in the sport that I love' amid British Gymnastics claims

Beth Tweddle at London 2012 Olympic Games.
Beth Tweddle said she was 'hurt' to hear experiences of bullying and abuse in British Gymnastics. Credit: AP

Olympian Beth Tweddle said "there is no place for bullying or abuse in the sport I love" in response to allegations that have prompted British Gymnastics to launch an independent review.

The London 2012 bronze medallist said she welcomed the review and advised all gymnasts to share their experiences but did not mention any allegations relating to her career.

ITV News revealed allegations of physical and emotional abuse within the sport prompting others to come forward.

Ms Tweddle said in a post on Instagram: “Gymnastics is my life, and it’s been a difficult week or so for everyone in gymnastics reading and watching the stories in the news.

“You should never be afraid to talk and it hurts me to learn that gymnasts have not felt like they can do this. Sharing feelings, talking about experiences and being open is, I believe, the only way to create a positive and healthy environment."

“Gymnastics allows you to have fun with your friends. It’s a sport that teaches you valuable life skills, and is open to anyone to try. It’s a positive sport, where respect is fundamental, and there is no place for bullying or abuse in the sport that I love," she said.

She said she welcomed the review and urged all gymnasts to share their experiences to ensure that the sport is "safe and enjoyable for everyone".

Amy Tinkler filed a complaint about her experience to British Gymnastics.

Ms Tweddle said that she had "tough" times in the sport but added: "Whatever the setback, whatever the problem, I talked to my family, my coach Amanda and my friends and it was their support that got me through it."

Her comments come as British Gymnastics told ITV News that coach Neil Griffiths has been expelled from membership and "is no longer permitted to coach or hold a position of authority in any British Gymnastics regulated activity".

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Bullying allegations have also been made against GB coach Craig Lowther.

Rio 2016 medallist Amy Tinkler and sisters Becky and Ellie Downie were among those to reveal 'traumatic' experiences at the hands of their coaches.

In a joint statement released via their respective social media channels, the Downies described instances of historic bullying, including a focus on weight which Ellie Downie said had “left deep scars which will never be healed”.

Tinkler, 20, said her experience and the subsequent failure of governing body British Gymnastics to act on her complaint, led her to announce her retirement in January.

British Gymnastics confirmed receipt of Tinkler’s complaint and disputed the allegation that it had not responded.

The organisation said: “British Gymnastics received formal notification of a complaint from Amy Tinkler in December 2019 and she provided full details of this complaint to us on 10th March 2020 which then allowed the investigation to proceed.

“It is at an advanced stage and we have kept Amy Tinkler fully informed and provided her with the appropriate support and we will continue to do so. We can make no further comment at this stage in the process.”