Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 17:14 GMT
Pinsent shocked by China training
Matthew Pinsent
Pinsent travelled to China for BBC Radio Five Live
Olympic legend Sir Matthew Pinsent has been left stunned by the treatment of young gymnasts in Beijing.

The four-times gold medallist assessed China's preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games for BBC Radio Five Live.

Pinsent, who described children in pain while training and claimed a boy had been beaten by his coach, said: "It was a pretty disturbing experience."

Olympic officials said it would be inappropriate to comment on "third hand" remarks at this stage.

"It is important that on this important issue, people do not jump to conclusions, but make judgements on clear facts.

"It would be inappropriate to comment on Matthew Pinsent's remarks which the IOC has only heard third hand and understands are more a personal interpretation," said International Olympic Committee communications director Giselle Davies.

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

He was disappointed that it appeared to be regarded as necessary.

Pinsent said: "I know it is gymnastics and that sport has to start its athletes young, but I have to say I was really shocked.

They said this is what they needed to do to make them hard
Sir Matthew Pinsent

"I was wondering whether the western approach compared to the eastern approach is a bit different, but I do think those kids are being abused.

"When I talked to the vice-principals, they said hitting was against the law, but then there were parents who want you to do it.

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

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.

Davies added that last week a group of international journalists had spoken to athletes, including gymnasts, at Beijing's national training centre and had been "very impressed with the people they met and the training they saw".

The International Gymnastics Federation has also promised to raise the issue with China's gymnastics officials during the World Championships in Melbourne later this month.

Report: Pinsent on Chinese gymnasts' training

Beijing under scrutiny from IOC
08 Nov 05 |  Other Sport...
Beijing shelves Tiananmen plans
17 May 05 |  Other Sport...
China steps up anti-drugs effort
21 Apr 05 |  Sport Homepage

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability Sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other Sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport