Gymnastics: British body defends procedures after Olympic medallist Tinkler's bullying claims

Amy Tinkler said she experienced bullying and was frustrated by the failure of British Gymnastics to act on her complaint. PHOTO: AMY TINKLER/INSTAGRAM

LONDON (AFP) - British Gymnastics launched a strong defence of its procedures on Tuesday (July 28) after Amy Tinkler claimed the governing body had taken too long to deal with her complaint over bullying and abuse.

She retired in January, less than four years after becoming Britain's youngest medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The 20-year-old said she experienced bullying and was frustrated by the failure of British Gymnastics to act on her complaint.

"I can confirm that the complaint I submitted in December 2019 related to my experience at South Durham Gymnastics Club and against part of the British Gymnastics coaching team," Tinkler wrote on social media on Tuesday.

"I've also been chasing British Gymnastics for a timeline on their investigation into my complaint. I understand it could still take four months or more to reach a conclusion, making it nearly 12 months from my original complaint.

"I'm unhappy at the length of time this is taking as it leaves vulnerable gymnasts at risk of abuse from known clubs and coaches.

"I beg British Gymnastics to move swifter and take proactive action about our complaints."

However, British Gymnastics insisted it had acted appropriately.

"We have been in regular touch with Amy Tinkler and her mother throughout this process. It is wrong to suggest otherwise," a statement said.

"An initial summary of the complaint was made in late December 2019. Full evidence was provided in mid-March 2020.

"As we have already advised Amy and her family, the investigation phase is now complete and we have moved to the next stage of procedures.

"To be clear, every complaint is looked at in accordance with our procedures by our integrity unit to assess immediate risk to gymnasts.

"If the evidence available at the time of the initial complaint suggests an immediate risk of harm to gymnasts, we take immediate action to protect gymnasts.

"These are often complex cases dealing with multiple issues across an elongated timeframe.

"The procedures are in place to protect the integrity of the process and ensure fairness for all parties involved."

British gymnasts from all ages and levels of the sport have gone public to reveal instances of bullying and abuse, prompting the launch of an independent review.

Tinkler initially spoke out after the Downie sisters, Becky and Ellie, described an "environment of fear and mental abuse" in British gymnastics and said they had been "left deep scars which will never be healed".

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