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Gymnasts allege mistreatment by GB coach Amanda Reddin


Amanda Reddin competed at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles

Two gymnasts have made allegations of mistreatment by British Gymnastics head coach Amanda Reddin.

One, named Jenny, made claims dating back to the 1980s which include accusations of physical abuse from the ages of 9-12, which caused “immense pain”.

Rio Olympian Ruby Harrold said Reddin presided over a “culture of fear” at the Team GB camps in Lilleshall.

She described food portions that left her and her fellow gymnasts hungry.

The BBC is also aware of one other high-profile complaint to British Gymnastics that is ongoing and two other separate complaints made to the NSPCC hotline, set up in the wake of the allegations.

In a statement to ITV, Reddin said:external-link “I completely refute the historical claim, and the investigation by British Gymnastics did not uphold the complaint.

“I completely refute these claims. It is wrong that my reputation within the sport that I love is now subject to a trial by media rather than through the proper processes.

“I would welcome the allegations be submitted to the independent review into alleged abuse in gymnastics to ensure the integrity of the process is protected for both athletes and coaches.”

British Gymnastics previously responded to the allegations made by Jenny, who has asked for her surname to be withheld, and found no wrongdoing by Reddin.

Asked for a response to Harrold’s claims, British Gymnastics said: “There is no place for abuse in our sport. Those that speak out about mistreatment in gymnastics must be heard.

“It is vital, however, that such claims are made through the proper process to ensure a fair and independent system that protects integrity for all parties involved.”

It then directed gymnasts affected to contact its integrity unitexternal-link or call the the BAC/NSPCC helpline on 0800 056 0566.

These are the latest in a catalogue of allegations in recent weeks of a culture of mistreatment in the sport.

Last month, British Gymnastics announced an independent review would be launched, and chief executive Jane Allen said last week the organisation had “fallen short” in protecting its members.

Reddin is a former gymnast and coached British former world champion Beth Tweddle before her appointment as head coach of British Gymnastics in 2012.

Tweddle has previously praised Reddin and her “working ethic”.

British Gymnastics defended Reddin

Jenny, a gymnast coached by Reddin at the Bright School of Gymnastics in the 1980s, told BBC Sport: “I think that it’s maybe up to us older ones to get the story out to show that this has been going on for so long.”

She alleges that when she was nine years old, Reddin “came over, sat beside me, grabbed my side, pulled it out really hard. She told me I was too fat, and then told me I needed to go on a diet, which obviously was very upsetting.

“If I’d got a move wrong, then she would sometimes slap me. I wasn’t expecting people to hit you as a child even in the 80s – she slapped me very hard across the back of the legs. I can’t remember what I did wrong.”

Asked if the slap hurt, she said: “It did – it really stung – and left a red mark across my legs.”

In a letter of complaint to British Gymnastics, she alleged Reddin would also sit on her, causing immense pain, during stretching and would verbally abuse her if she cried.

In its response, British Gymnastics said Reddin had categorically denied slapping gymnasts, saying she would only give “little taps and nibbles” to show gymnasts how they should be working.

It also said she denied using “excessive force” on a gymnast to stretch them and that, at the time the response was written, there were no complaints against her.

Harrold says she did not see any physical mistreatment but claims Reddin presided over a culture of fear with an emphasis on weight, bringing in portion-control dinner plates for a time to control their calories.

Harrold said: “How would you feel if you were 21 years old being given ultimately a baby plate to eat off? It’s demeaning… it’s unhealthy.”

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