Sunday 24 January 2021

Sports legal body is investigating ‘shocking number’ of gymnastics coaches


Some 25 gymnastics coaches are under investigation at the moment following claims that they mentally and physically abused their young charges, sports legal body ISR has confirmed to NOS.

‘It’s a shocking number, particularly within the one sport,’ ISR chairman Dick van Steenbeek told the broadcaster.

Some 75 people have now reported coaches to the ISR in the last months following the admission by trainer Gerrit Beltman that he had in the past humiliated and physically abused young gymnasts.

The names mentioned include that of Vincent Wevers, father of Olympic champion Sanne Wevers. Beltman is still working as a trainer in Germany while Wevers is still involved with the top Dutch gymnasts.

The ISR said it is currently investigating 70 coaches from a range of sports but that most cases are related to gymnastics.

The institute, which is struggling with lack of staff and funding, has itself come in for criticism from gymnasts and their parents who said their complaints took too long to be processed.

Reports of conversations were wrong or incomplete and the gymnast in question was ‘interrogated’ in a brutal manner, one mother said.

The sports minister has now promised structural financial aid for the ISR which has said that this will increase capacity to handle cases more quickly and improve standards at the organisation.

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