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British Gymnastics enforces new policy to tackle 'harassment and excessive control' in the sport

British Gymnastics is now focusing on ensuring the well-being and healthy participation of athletes by taking a closer look at harmful practices in the sport.

British Gymnastics enforces new policy to tackle 'harassment and excessive control' in the sport
Cover Image Source: Alice Kinsella of Great Britain at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships-Antwerp 2023 at the Antwerp Sportpaleis on October 6th, 2023, in Antwerp, Belgium. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

In the world of sports, there is a lot that goes into delivering the top-tier performances that athletes exceptionally give. To maintain their spirit and look out for their welfare, departments are constantly improvising on their policies and rules. In one such instance, British Gymnastics has come out with a new policy aimed toward the well-being and safety of their gymnasts. These policies revolve around academics, hydration and several other aspects. Most importantly, the policy has also made a statement that the weighing of gymnasts will be ruled out to achieve their aforementioned goals. According to CNN, this move is meant to address reports of "bullying, harassment and excessive control" in the sport in the nation.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Andrea Piacquadio
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Andrea Piacquadio

“We’ve published the first of a series of new safe sport policies to help better protect the welfare of gymnasts, covering hydration, weighing gymnasts and academic education,” the British Gymnastics team said. They further stressed the need to ensure active, healthy and happy participation when it comes to gymnastics, which is one of the reasons for implementing the new policies. The CEO, Sarah Powell, said, “Above all else, we care about gymnasts as people, and these new policies make clear that what matters most in gymnastics is the welfare of those involved.”


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by British Gymnastics (@britishgymnasticsofficial)


 

The new policy strongly urges coaches and those involved in the sport to allow gymnasts to consume as many fluids as required to stay hydrated throughout games. Another specific rule has been enforced regarding the weighing of gymnasts. It is now completely the athlete’s choice to be weighed and the same will be carried out by medical practitioners solely for the “gymnast’s long-term development” and a “valid rationale.” The coaches will no longer be allowed to weigh gymnasts and only those over 10 will be permitted for the weighing procedure. The policy has been created to reinforce the #BeTheChange policy that aims at the welfare of gymnasts and ensures healthy sportsmanship.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by British Gymnastics (@britishgymnasticsofficial)


 

Another major policy implemented is regarding the academics of gymnasts. The policy aims to balance education with training for gymnasts, especially under the age of 12. Gymnasts will no longer be mandated to skip formal education for their gymnastics training. Even coaches and other mentors have been advised to hold training during hours that don’t interfere with school schedules. The rule is to be followed by teachers, coaches, parents, clubs and all those involved in the sport. The British Gymnastics Instagram page @britishgymnasticsofficial has been advocating their need to make gymnastics better with their campaign. Their posts mention the many efforts to enhance the campaign and encourage the sport on a more positive and inclusive front.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by British Gymnastics (@britishgymnasticsofficial)


 

One of their videos explaining the weighing policy said, “We want gymnastics to be enjoyable, safe and open for everyone and we all have a part to play.” It further highlighted how poor weighing practices trigger negative and unhealthy thoughts and affect young gymnasts in many ways. “Poor weighing practices can trigger an unhealthy relationship between food and body image. But, healthy weighing can be beneficial for performance and health reasons,” the voiceover said. 

However, they also shed light on the fact that being weighed is now clearly a choice. Many people are still to accept and give the policy a shot at proving its efficiency. Many are on board. @sarahbradpole applauded the policy, saying, “Glad there’s some improvement. I used to get weighed regularly and put up with stuff as a kid. I’d now want the person hunted down if it was done to my kid.”


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by British Gymnastics (@britishgymnasticsofficial)


 

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