Becky Downie’s Olympics hopes suffer blow following row with British Gymnastics over the equipment being used at selection trials with fears athlete is being ‘sabotaged’ after speaking out on abuse in the sport
- Becky Downie’s hopes of making Team GB for Tokyo Olympics taken a big hit
- Row over equipment to be used at the final trials has proved to be a setback
- Insiders fear Downie is being sabotaged for speaking out on abuse in the sport
- The 29-year-old is a medal prospect and is likely to retire after the Games
Olympic medal prospect Becky Downie’s hopes of making the team for Tokyo have been hit after a row with British Gymnastics over the equipment being used at this weekend’s selection trials.
Downie, who won a silver medal on the uneven bars at the 2019 World Championships, is fighting to be one of the four women picked by Team GB for the Games when she performs at the all-important behind-closed-doors trials in Cardiff.
However, the 29-year-old has suffered a setback after British Gymnastics controversially ruled that Gymnova equipment must be used at the final trials rather than Spieth, which had been an option at other selection competitions this year.
British gymnast Becky Downie suffered a blow to her Olympic hopes in an equipment row
The 29-year-old won a silver medal on the uneven bars at the 2019 World Championships
The late and unexpected change is significant for Downie as Gymnova’s uneven bars are straight, whereas Spieth’s are angled like the Senoh ones being used at Tokyo 2020.
Downie had been training on angled bars in preparation for the Games, but on Gymnova apparatus she will be unable to perform the routine she had been working on for weeks and must learn a new one instead.
Insiders fear that Downie is being ‘sabotaged’ because she spoke out about her and her sister Ellie’s experiences of abuse in gymnastics when the scandal first broke last summer.
A source told Sportsmail: ‘It feels as if Becky is being set up for failure. Coaches are not happy with them for speaking up and those coaches are still in positions of power.
‘The refusal to bring the Olympic equipment that they have to their final trial, impacting Becky more than anyone, is utterly petty and indicates clear intent.’
Hinting at her frustration in a tweet, Downie wrote: ‘With this one, you broke me.’
Insiders fear Downie is being set up for failure after speaking out on abuse within the sport
In another post, she said: ‘Torn between training incredibly well and feeling in the shape of my life vs having to deal with the most difficult scenario that affects everything I’ve worked so hard for.’
There are also fears that British Gymnastics’ selection policy for the Games, which states ‘potential to medal at Paris 2024’ as a factor for nomination, favours younger gymnasts over Downie, who is likely to retire after Tokyo.
She faces competition from 17-year-old Amelie Morgan, who won bronze in the bars at the European Championships in April, and 20-year-old Alice Kinsella, a former European beam champion.
Downie’s sister Ellie, 21, is also hoping to gain selection, as are 16-year-old Jessica Gadirova, who won three medals at the recent Europeans, and her identical twin sister Jennifer.
British Gymnastics and Downie were approached for comment.
17-year-old Amelie Morgan recently won bronze in the bars at the European Championships