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Becky Downie: Petition calls for independent review after gymnast left out by British Olympic team

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Downie made his Olympic debut at the Beijing Games in 2008

A petition calling for an independent review of the selection process for British Gymnastics for Tokyo 2020 has attracted more than 22,000 signatures.

It comes after Becky Downie, 29, was left out of GB’s Olympic team.

Downie won a silver medal at the last World Cup in 2019 and last year spoke out against violent behavior in gymnastics training.

“We need the selection process to be fair,” said Sarah Dougan, who started the petition on Monday.

“Myself and others believe that this is a result of Becky being open to the culture of abuse experienced in British gymnastics and that she is being punished for holding them accountable.”

James Thomas, British gymnastics performance director, has denied this, saying: “No athlete was seen in any other light around speaking out during the last 12 months that influenced the selection.

“I’m very sure the team was considered their gymnastic merits and nothing else.”

Downie, a former European and independent champion of Commonwealth bars, attended a specially organized rehearsal event after death of her 24-year-old brother, but Thomas said the selection panel then decided to prioritize the team event rather than take a specialist to Tokyo.

“I believe the selection committee should be replaced by independent judges at a separate event,” Dougan added.

“At the very least, British gymnastics should make their selection process transparent to the public to ensure that it is fair.”

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