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FIG to hold two-day online conference after abuse scandals in gymnastics

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) is set to hold a two-day online conference in the wake of the abuse scandals that have swept across gymnastics.

The virtual conference, due to take place today (October 26) and tomorrow (October 27), will be aimed at improving the global training environments for athletes.

FIG requested from National Federations proposals and ideas to be put forward in order to improve the practices in gymnastics, all of which were submitted by the October 12 deadline for the suggestions to be considered.

A statement from the FIG read: "We are relying on the active participation of all the National Federations in this significant initiative.

"Active participation means much more than just listening to what will be said.

"We encourage you to take the floor and share grassroots experiences and examples that work well in your country."

Earlier this year, a documentary released on Netflix, Athlete A, exposed the sexual abuse scandal from former USA Gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar, who was said to be reported a number of times to the governing body by athletes but were ignored, suggesting that profit was put before welfare.

It also focused in on the emotional abuse and strict dieting of gymnasts, prompting others from around the world to speak out about the abuse they themselves had suffered.

British gymnast Nile Wilson was one of those who spoke out, claiming that he felt athletes were treated like “pieces of meat”. Sisters Becky and Ellie Downie also spoke of the “completely normalised” abuse of gymnasts in the sport.

The Royal Dutch Gymnastics Federation urged the FIG to hold a worldwide symposium whereby athletes, coaches, technical experts and others involved with the future of gymnastics, could express their ideas on the improvement of the sport.

It was formally announced last month by FIG president Morinari Watanabe.

“The purpose of this e-conference is not to exhume the crimes of the past - there are other ways and mechanisms to deal with that - but to promote the good practices that already exist and share positive experiences that could be easily replicated in different parts of the world,” started Watanabe.

“From the bottom to the top of the pyramid, everyone can and must be part of the solution.

“As the sport´s governing body, the FIG can certainly give the impetus but it is all together that we can build a positive culture where everybody can thrive and fully live their passion for the sport."

Author: Jake Wilkin