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UK to give extra help so gays win gold at Olympics

UK to give extra help so gays win gold at Olympics

British gay athletes are to get extra help to overcome the problems they face and win gold at the Olympics and other top contests.

It will start with top-level athletes meeting with LGBTI sports experts to find out if discrimination or keeping their sexuality secret is holding them back.

Then specialists will be brought in to solve the problems they face so they get picked to represent their country and perform their best.

The initiative comes from the British Athletes Commission (BAC), which supports the UK’s sports stars at the Olympics, Paralympics, Commonwealth Games and other top contests.

They are bringing in LGBTI experts and Pride Sports directors, Lou Englefield and Dr Anna Verges, to produce a report to help them tackle the problem.

The pair will speak to elite performers who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual and who don’t.

They will ask about discrimination from coaches, funders or others and whether depression or keeping their sexuality a secret is holding them back, among other questions.

Ian Braid, CEO of the BAC, said: ‘Our members are seeking selection for their national teams and to win medals.

‘The sexuality of an athlete should not have an impact on an athlete’s performance or the environment in which he/she trains, but we know it can.’

Englefield added: ‘Speaking in confidence with a range of athletes we hope not only to support the BAC to refine its existing services, but also to improve our own understanding of the performance environment for LGB athletes.’

She will start work in August, once the Commonwealth Games, the world’s third largest multi-sport event, which opens today, is over.

It is likely to take three months, with a report presented to the BAC in December this year.