Irish gymnastics body sorry after racism row video
DUBLIN, Ireland, (AFP) – Ireland’s gymnastics federation apologised Monday for allegedly racist treatment of a young black gymnast who was skipped by an official handing out medals to a row of girls last year.
Video footage posted on social media last week of an event in Dublin in 2022 showed the official appearing to snub the girl, the only black gymnast in the line-up, who looked bewildered.
“We would like to unreservedly apologise to the gymnast and her family for the upset that has been caused by the incident,” said a statement by Gymnastic Ireland (GI) posted on its website.
“What happened on the day should not have happened and for that we are deeply sorry,” said the statement.
“We would like to make it absolutely clear that (GI) condemns any form of racism whatsoever,” it added.
Posted last Friday the video soon went viral and drew widespread condemnation of the girl’s treatment, including from famed US gymnast Simone Biles who said she sent the girl a private video message of support.
It “broke my heart to see… There is no room for racism in any sport or at all,” Biles, a seven-time Olympic medallist, said Saturday on X, formerly Twitter.
In an earlier statement GI defended the official who it said had made an “honest error” but the girl’s mother told an Irish newspaper Sunday that she believed the gymnast was ignored due to her identity.