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Athletes seeking support from British Athletes Commission rises

The number of Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have looked for support from the British Athletes Commission (BAC) rose in 2020.

Athletes seeking support from British Athletes Commission rises

The representative body announced that 145 instances of end-to-end support was offered to its members last year, a 140 per cent increase on the figures released for 2019. In 2018, there were 39 instances.

These figures do not include any individuals who were supported via the BAC's partnership with with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in relation to allegations of abuse within gymnastics, which was brought to light in 2020.

Last years figures come throughout an unprecedented 12 months, where athletes had to face the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games being cancelled, as well as the mental toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The rise in the number of athletes being supported by the BAC is dramatic, even compared to as recently as 2019," said Vicki Aggar, the recently re-elected BAC chair.

"While people may look at those figures and see evidence that there are problems within the system, I see it as an enormous positive that more and more athletes are now choosing to come to us, trusting in us to provide them with the right advice, support and guidance, regardless of their issue.

"The fact that there is more awareness of the support network, more willingness among athletes to seek out help rather than to attempt to face their problems alone, and more discussion about how, culturally, we can continue to improve athlete experience, is incredibly encouraging, and the BAC being right at the forefront of this progress is a source of great pride to me."

The BAC said that 36 per cent of its support was related to welfare issues and a further 33 per cent to selection matters. The remaining cases were split between safeguarding, commercial, classification, disciplinary and grievance.

The body represents over 1,400 athletes on the world-class programme across more than 40 sports.

Author: Jake Wilkin