Almost ONE in THREE British athletes bound for Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have experienced or witnessed ‘unacceptable behaviour’
- UK Sport study follows high-profile welfare incidents in sports such as cycling
- Showed around 115 people claimed to have endured ‘unacceptable behaviour’
- A further 13 per cent of the 682 athletes who completed survey had witnessed it
- In response, UK Sport said they are doubling funding to improve athlete welfare
Almost a third of the British athletes heading to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have experienced or witnessed ‘unacceptable behaviour,’ according to revelations in an extensive UK Sport study.
The investigation by the funding body, which is responsible for distributing lottery funding, follows high-profile welfare incidents in cycling, para-swimming, bobsleigh and rowing.
The most notable figure showed that 17 per cent of the 682 athletes who completed the survey – around 115 people – claimed to have endured ‘unacceptable behaviour’, with a further 13 per cent having witnessed it.
Almost a third of the British athletes heading to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have experienced or witnessed ‘unacceptable behaviour,’ according to a UK Sport study
UK Sport said none of the reported incidents had been considered serious enough on further investigation to warrant any severe action, such as personnel changes.
There was also a recognition from the funding body that athletes are apprehensive of giving feedback to coaches after 31 per cent said they feared ‘negative consequences’ and 24 per cent were unhappy with measures taken in the world class programmes around mental health.
Reflecting on the four-month study, which found 91 per cent of athletes felt the programmes had ‘good intentions’, UK Sport performance director Chelsea Warr said: ‘This generation, the i generation, they want to be communicated with differently, have different life goals, and we have to change.
Dame Katherine Grainger does not expect medal tallies to be affected by the soul-searching
‘British Cycling independent review (in 2017) was a wake-up call for us. We weren’t asking enough robust questions, insightful enough questions to get an accurate perspective of the experiences of athletes.’
In response to the findings, UK Sport on Wednesday said they are doubling its funding to the British Athletes Commission to £1.05m to improve athlete welfare.
UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger does not expect British medal tallies to be affected by the soul-searching into sport cultures in the past two years. She said: ‘It is about creating an environment that is very hard and challenging but very respectful and safe. A lot of it is athletes having places to go to speak out.’