Friday 27 May 2022

Gymnastics coach cleared of abuse charges for lack of evidence

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Gymnastics coach Vincent Wevers has been cleared of the physical and mental abuse of young gymnasts by the sports disciplinary committee ISR.

In 2020 gymnastics association KNGU suspended Wevers after several former gymnasts spoke out about being hit, shouted at and belittled, often while still very young.

The committee said the KNGU investigation into the Wever’s behaviour was ‘not up to standards’ and there was not enough evidence against the coach.

Wevers, father of Olympic champion Sanne Wevers, said that he had adopted the culture of the time when he started training. ‘There was little room for the gymnasts to have input,’ he said. ‘But with what I know now, I would never have behaved in that way.’

The decision means Wever’s suspension will be lifted. The KNGU, which has four weeks to lodge an appeal, said it would be ‘studying’ the verdict.

Petra Witjes, who was one of the gymnasts to come forward, said the ISR had ‘duped the gymnasts’.

‘For months I have said that the investigation was not being carried out professionally, based on relevance and truth-finding. Now it turns out the committee cannot make a decision because the investigation fell short,’ she commented.

Former gymnast Joy Goedkoop said there was ‘plenty of proof of what happened and is still happening in gymnastics’. ‘What the opposition did was to invalidate the content by pointing out flaws in the investigation, which was very easy considering the sloppy work of the ISR,’ she said.

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