Family of snubbed black gymnast to lodge complaint to Children's Ombudsman

Family of snubbed black gymnast to lodge complaint to Children's Ombudsman

The family of the young black gymnast, who was snubbed at a medal ceremony at the National Indoor Arena last year are set to lodge a complaint to Ombudsman for Children 

Back in September, Gymnastics Ireland became involved in the viral saga. A video from 2022 surfaced online, in which an older woman could be seen distributing medals to gymnasts. The woman in question could be seen omitting the only black girl in the group. The video rapidly gained popularity and well-known stars in the sport like American star Simone Biles also commented on the video.  

"(It) broke my heart to see... There is no room for racism in any sport or anywhere, "said Biles on X after seeing the clip.  

Gymnastics Ireland also apologised shortly after saying they needed to take more comprehensive measures to prevent a recurrence of the incident. 

"Please be assured that we have been acting in good faith and with the best of intentions in addressing this very challenging and sensitive matter. We offered an in-person apology following the incident as we believed it to be the most appropriate approach. Subsequently, we felt mediation was the best way forward," they added in September 

"We now recognize the need for more extensive action. We are committed to ensuring that such an incident never happens again. Earlier this year, we appointed an independent expert to review our policies and procedures, resulting in a series of recommendations that we are fully committed to implementing to prevent any such incident from recurring." 

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles posting on social media said "(It) broke my heart to see … There is no room for racism in any sport or at all.”(Photo by LOREN ELLIOTT/AFP via Getty Images)

Today it has been revealed by the Irish Mirror that the family of the child in question are contacting the Ombudsman for Children in Ireland because the organisation took over 18 months to issue an apology for their role in the incident. They also plan to shift the matter "from the sports arena to the human rights arena."

Ken McCue, co-founder of Sport Against Racism in Ireland, who is helping the family with their complaint said that the sporting body only reacted and apologised when it became a huge news story, not when it should have at the time of the matter.  “Gymnastics Ireland tried to dodge the issue for so long,” he claimed. “It was only when it became an international incident and [US Olympian] Simone Biles took up the case that they got spooked, made a statement, and made the apology.”

The Mirror have also reported that the family want the Ombudsman to recommend that Sport Ireland adopt a child welfare policy covering children from diverse ethnic backgrounds and ask the Government to regulate this area.

McCue has also criticised the Irish Government for its handling of the saga and questioned why such rules and measures were not installed in the first place. He believes government funding should be cut also if they don't participate in such diversity and inclusion procedures

“It hasn’t taken the initiative. That’s the problem,” McCue added “There has always been a hands-off approach by the Government to sport. It’s light-touch; they give them funding and that’s it.

“National Governing Bodies (NGBs) shouldn’t get funding if they don’t comply with certain standards in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion."