Mother of black girl blasts Gymnastics Ireland for ‘almost useless’ apology for racism at awards ceremony

Mother of black girl blasts Gymnastics Ireland for ‘almost useless’ apology for racism at awards ceremony


A mum has called an apology by Gymnastics Ireland “almost useless” after her daughter was skipped when medals were given out at an awards ceremony.

In a video seen by millions on social media, the girl, who was the sole Black competitor in the field, was the only athlete not to receive a medal at the end of a competition in Dublin in March 2022.

Gymnastics Ireland released an apology on Monday after the girl’s parents alleged she was subjected to racist behaviour when overlooked. The governing body said it was “deeply sorry” and “what happened on the day should not have happened”.

In a new interview the mother of the child has blasted the apology, saying “there was no empathy shown” and it appeared as though Gymnastics Ireland was “pressured” into making it.

“[It is] almost useless,” she told the BBC. “There was no empathy shown, I find like it’s not true. It’s been 18 months and it seems like they were pressured to give me an apology. I cried for so long and then millions of people cried with me before I could get this. All I wanted was an empathetic reply from them. I wanted a show of support. And really what we wanted was a form of apology to show her. To say this is from them, to make her feel supported.”

In a statement released earlier this week, Gymnastics Ireland said: “On behalf of the board and staff of Gymnastics Ireland we would like to unreservedly apologise to the gymnast and her family for the upset that has been caused by the incident at the GymStart event in March 2022. What happened on the day should not have happened and for that we are deeply sorry. We are also sorry that what has happened since that date has caused further upset. Please know that at all times we have been acting in good faith and with the best of intentions in trying to resolve this very difficult and sensitive matter.

“We offered an in-person apology after the incident as we believed this was the best approach. Subsequently we felt mediation was the best way forward. We know now we need to do more. We are committed to ensuring nothing like this will happen again. We appointed an independent expert to review our policies and procedures earlier this year and a series of recommendations have resulted which we are fully committed to implementing so that this does not ever happen again. We would also like to engage with the gymnast’s family and Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) to listen to any suggestions they have as to how our procedures can be improved in this regard.”

  • A Mirror report
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