Figure skater Jessica Shuran Yu, who was born and trained in China but competed in international competitions for Singapore before quitting her career, revealed on Thursday the mistreatment of her coaches.
“I was eleven when the physical abuse started,” wrote Yu, who competed at the 2017 world championships, revealing how her trainer hit her using a plastic skate blade cover.
"When he got mad at me, which seemed to happen every time I made the slightest mistake, he would ask me to reach out to him," she wrote.
"On particularly difficult days, I was hit more than ten times in a row, until my skin was raw," added the young girl, now aged 19, also evoking "blows of pads on the shins ".
She said the physical abuse "subsided" when she started competing at the senior level. A title of champion at the Southeast Asian Games in 2018 and two national titles in Singapore in 2015 and 2017.
However, verbal and mental abuse were constant. "I can't remember a time without it," she wrote, indicating that her coach was hurling insults such as "lazy", "fat", "stupid" and "good for nothing" at her skaters.
Of Chinese mother and Singaporean father, she considers herself in a privileged position to speak about the "culture of abuse" in China.
According to her, a "toxic environment affects aesthetic sports such as gymnastics and figure skating". "We have to talk about it," she says.
"If posting my story can raise awareness, trigger some anger, and help other people cope with their experiences, then it's more than worth it," she concluded.
His allegations are the latest to rock the sports world. Former Australian gymnasts recently released accounts of physical and mental abuse, while the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned in a report of the “endemic” abuse of Japanese coaches on young athletes.
© 2020 AFP