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International Athletes Accused of Bullying

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The University’s Athletic Team have claimed they were bullied out of their training session by international athletes and their coaches.

The club claim the athletes, who are not Stirling students, came onto the track and began to warm up without approaching the club who were already on the tracks for their training session.

As per the Coronavirus guidelines, the club had been told to contact the Gannochy Sports Centre for assistance as they were told there cannot be others on the track during their training sessions.

However, the club say Scottish Athletics Coach Carol Sharp approached the club and began questioning the group.

The club explained the rules they had been given and Sharp approached the Sports Centre to speak to staff.

The club claim they were then approached again by Sharp with another athlete, Andy Butchart, over FaceTime (as Butchart was in America) who tried to explain international athletes can go on the track whenever without a booking.

The instagram story posted by one of the international athletes. Credit: University of Stirling Athletics Club

The club say Butchart was condescending and sarcastic and tried to use the ‘spirit of the sport’ and the international status of the athletes to try and leverage their way onto the track.

The club also say the coaching staff continued to be confrontational with them including swearing at them.

One of the international athletes also posted an instagram story saying: “When here is like 10 Stirling uni athletes but 3 international athletes can’t get on for 4 reps! Make it make sense”.

An athletic club coach had approached the group for support and the club eventually managed to train on their booked slot.

The club eventually submitted complaints to the Sports Union and the Sports Centre who the club say were supportive.

The club claim they also spoke to Scottish Athletics about the situation and formal complaints were filed.

However, Head of Performance Sport at the university, David Bond, sent an email to the club booking in the international athletes as they claim they were told international athletes work round the bookings.

The club will usually receive emails asking if this is okay and fits their schedule however no consultation was given to the club and the booking was made without them knowing.

The booking was made for the same time as the club which the club claim goes against the rules they were given for training during the Covid pandemic.

The booking has also been made for during the summer at the same time as the athletics club.

Scottish Athletics said: “We’re aware of some issues around training access at Stirling Uni (at the end of April).

“Performance staff from Scottish Athletics have spoken to some of those parties involved and it does appear now that solutions have been found.

“Looking forward, we hope that all athletes- international and/or from local clubs- can access shared training environments in a collaborative fashion.

“It was good to see the Stirling Uni track event happening last weekend and welcoming guest athletes.”

A member of the Athletics club said that: “The event was part of the Scottish Athletics together Apart district champs series and was the first event the uni team have hosted on track for a long time. I myself organised the event and have had really good feedback on the event and was really good to see athletes back competing again.   

“The club had a good number of athletes involved with lots of personal bests which is good to see for many people’s first races in over a year.”

A University of Stirling spokesperson said: “The University’s sport facilities are available to students, staff, members of the public and external groups.

“The athletics track can be used by more than one group at a time and, as there was a small number of athletes involved, both groups were advised they would be sharing the track for a one-off training session.”

“However, both groups have since requested the same time on a Friday which we have accommodated due to the small numbers involved”

Feature Image Credit: – Brig Newspaper

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