Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mistreatment of Chinese Athletes

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Are young Chinese athletes abused by their coaches in preparation for the 2008 Games? Four-times gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent seems to think so. On his last trip to China for BBC Radio Five Live Olympic he was literally shocked at what he saw.

"They said this is what they needed to do to make them hard."


Pinsent, a former IOC and current British Olympic Association member, felt children were being pushed beyond acceptable limits in pursuit of excellence.

He described children in pain while training and claimed a boy had been beaten by his coach, he said.

“It was a pretty disturbing experience. I know it is gymnastics and that sport has to start its athletes young, but I have to say I was really shocked.”

The choice of Beijing to host the Games has been condemned in some quarters because of the country's poor human rights record.

Only three days ago the IOC's medical commission published guidelines on the training of elite child athletes. (more)

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