'You're only fast because you run from police': Sportspeople share experiences of racist stereotyping in Wales

Sport is often seen as something that can bring people together regardless of their sex, colour, gender, age, nationality or religion.

Look at South Africa's success at the 2019 Rugby World Cup: people of different backgrounds united behind a common goal to achieve their dreams.

But two people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds have told ITV News they have faced discrimination whilst playing sport in Wales.

Sprinter Sam Gordon has been told he's "only fast because he's black" or "because he's run away from the police".

"People think it's nothing but at the same time, it's very offensive," Gordon said.

Dubbed 'the fastest man in Wales', he hopes to become the first Welsh runner to complete the 100m in less than ten seconds and make it to next year's Olympic Games.

He currently holds the Welsh record at 10.08 seconds with wind assistance.

Welsh sprinter Sam Gordon has experienced people telling him to "get over racism". Credit: ITV Wales

Gordon said: "Racism will never be hard to talk about because I have to talk about it all the time. It's something I've experienced."

He remembers the time when he was training in a field with his team mates and got singled out by a man who was out walking.

"I was asked, 'do you run?' He said I would look like a robber.

"I asked him 'why do you think it was acceptable to say that to me?' He looked at me as if to say I was getting upset over nothing.

"I think it was bang out of order. I've worked very hard to get where I am, but if you're saying I can only do these things due to the colour of my skin, I take great offence in that."

Gordon trains for roughly 20 hours a week around work. Credit: ITV Wales

Gordon said athletics brings him "freedom and somewhere you can run fast and feel free", and it shouldn't be a place where someone "makes you feel the lowest of the low".

In an exclusive poll for ITV Wales, 66 per cent of people from a black and ethnic minority background said they believe football is racist, while almost 45 per cent believe rugby is.

Almost half of white people think the sport isn't racist.

As part of ITV Wales' special coverage into racism in Wales, former Wales captain Colin Charvis spoke out about how he is only now able to joke about the racial abuse he faced in the early 2000s, because at the time it was "abhorrent".

Ayah Abduldaim sometimes has doubts about whether her success is the result of her ability or the colour of her skin. Credit: ITV Wales

Ayah Abduldaim moved to Cardiff from Libya at the age of 11.

She coaches girls' football and aims to show people from an ethnic background that they can play sport without being judged.

"Some girls come with such low self-esteem. I'm like 'can I embed that mentality of can I do this'?" she said.

But the 20-year-old admitted it has taken its toll on her mentally.

"Sometimes it can be a burden, but it is rewarding at the end."

Abduldaim believe sport can help tackle racism. Credit: ITV Wales

Abduldaim has won awards for her coaching at regional and national levels.

"I second-guess myself. Is it because I'm good or is it because I'm an ethnic minority? Sometimes I feel like I'm ticking boxes for people.

"There's always that doubt that brings you down. It shouldn't but it does when you think people don't believe in you. It can be overwhelming at times."

Abduldaim believes sport can help tackle racism and make the world more supportive of people of colour.

She said the recent Black Lives Matter protests have helped with progression.

Black Lives Matter protests have been held across the world Credit: PA

Abduldaim said: "I have this metaphor: if there's a house on fire in a street, the fire brigade are not going to spray all of the houses because 'all houses matter.' They will do the one on fire because it needs help.

"Today, Black lives matter because they are the ones that are being abused and mistreated. This has been going on for years. The fact that we're only saying this now is mad."

She added that people saying 'White lives matter' and 'all lives matter' "baffles" her because of the "injustices over many years".

Sam Gordon said he has also experienced people telling him to "get over racism".

"That is mad and ludicrous to say that! It's not that easy because you don't have to deal with these things on a day-to-day basis.

"I shouldn't have to be saying 'please consider my life as equal as yours'. If you don't have to worry about that, it means you live a different life to me."