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Swimming Australia says star's 'pervert' allegations very concerning

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Canberra, June 11 (IANS) Swimming Australia (SA) said on Friday the allegations by star swimmer Maddie Groves were “very concerning” after she withdrew from the Olympic trials saying she wants to send a message to “all misogynistic perverts in sport.”

Groves, a two-time silver medallist at the 2016 Olympics, announced she was withdrawing from Australia’s Olympic trials, which begin in Adelaide on Saturday, ending her hopes of competing at the delayed Tokyo Games.

In a statement posted on social media on Thursday, she made allegations of “mistreatment” by an unnamed person involved in the sport, reports Xinhua.

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“Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport,” Groves said. “You can no longer exploit young women and girls, body shame or medically gaslight them and then expect them to represent you so you can earn your annual bonus.”

Responding on Friday, SA president Kieren Perkins — a gold medallist at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics — described the allegations as “very concerning” and called for Groves to come forward with more information.

“We have had an ongoing dialogue that has been generated by Maddie through social media, we reached out with her in September 2020 to try to engage with her on these concerns she has,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio.

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“Unfortunately at this point, we have not been able to have a direct conversation with Maddie to understand exactly what her concerns are, who the people involved are so that we can investigate it and deal with it.

“All sports have to make sure their athletes are well supported and protected in their environment, and unfortunately we have just not been able to do that, because Maddie hasn’t engaged with us directly yet.”

The Australian Swimming trials will be held over six days from June 12-17.

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–IANS

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