Paralympian left 'gobsmacked and disgusted' after official said her sprint briefs were 'too short'

Olivia Breen took to Twitter to share her frustration over the comments. Credit: PA

A Paralympian who revealed an official called her athletics briefs "inappropriate", says she has received several similar accounts from other female athletes.

Olivia Breen, who mainly competes in the T38 sprint and F38 long jump events, was chided by a female official while participating at the English Championships in Bedford.

She said she was "disgusted" after the official said her briefs were "too short and inappropriate".

It comes as Norway's women's beach handball team were slapped with a €1,500 (£1,298) fine for refusing to play in bikini bottoms - officials deemed the shorts to be "improper".

Ms Breen told ITV News that in response to her posting on social media over the weekend, young female athletes "stunned" her with their own testimonies.

Following the incident, the athlete wrote on social media: "Women should not be made to feel self conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should feel comfortable and at ease."

On reading about similar experiences, she said: "It's happened to a lot of young girls, a lot of athletes, I hadn't quite realised how bad it's been."

Ms Breen previously won a bronze medal in the London 2012 Paralympics. Subsequently, she earned gold in the World Championships in the T35-38 4x100m class in 2015, then again in the T38 long jump in 2017.

In her nine years of being an athlete, Ms Breen said she had never received a comment about her briefs.

"I was just like, 'are you joking?' She said, 'no, I think you should consider buying a pair of shorts'," the athlete recalled.

"I was just gobsmacked and disgusted."

Ms Breen said she put in a formal complaint with England Athletics.

The organisation told ITV News: “We are aware of the post and will be investigating as a matter of urgency.

"The wellbeing of all participants in athletics is of the utmost importance and everyone should feel comfortable to compete and participate in the sport.”

Ms Breen has vowed to wear the shorts again when she competes in the Tokyo Paralympics next month.

It comes as The European Handball Federation (EHF) fined Norway’s women’s beach handball team €1,500 after its players wore shorts instead of bikini bottoms in their Euro 2021 match against Spain.

Norway’s women’s beach handball team were fined after its players wore shorts instead of bikini bottoms.

The federation deemed the shorts to be "improper".

On Twitter, the Norwegian Handball Federation said it supported the women's beach team.

"We are very proud of these girls who during the European Championships raised their voices," it said.

"We at NHF stand behind you and support you. Together we will continue to fight to change the rules for clothing, so that players can play in the clothes they are comfortable with!"

In a follow up statement on Tuesday, the EHF said the Norwegian Handball Federation raised the team's desire to wear shorts at an EHF congress in April and were told the matter would be dealt with by the Beach Handball Commission in August. Until then, the EHF said, "the foreseen steps apply".

"From a European perspective, the reaction is based on disinformation on the procedure," the statement said.

"The position of the players involved is acknowledged and further steps, in close coordination with the IHF, are in motion."