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Gay Olympian Tom Bosworth Suffers Homophobic Abuse from Athletics Volunteer

The 30-year old British race-walker was contacted by The Independent in their efforts to support the openly gay athlete, who has reported the abuse to the social media platform.

The abuser, who was an athletics volunteer that belongs in the same county, used a highly derogatory term that is often targeted against the gay community, saying “F**s aren’t welcome in athletics.”

Bosworth, who is an ambassador of Stonewall, a campaign that champions equality for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, condemned the attack in a series of messages on social media platform Twitter.

In a series of tweets, the Brit reported that this had not been the first incident of the sort, referring to the abuse and bullying he received in 2018 from an official in Yorkshire.

“I’ve once tweeted about an athletics official bully, and I was accused of being in the wrong,” Bosworth wrote.

“So I’m going cautiously but, I’ll call them an athletics volunteer, from the same county messaged to let me know, ‘f**s like me aren’t welcome within athletics’. 2020 fills me with hope.”

Bosworth added, “I’ve reported to the relevant social media platform. I get the impression they wouldn’t have the guts to say anything in person but will keep an eye out.

“I laughed (to myself) and blocked them. Won’t engage with that any more. I’m only in the mood to spread joy.”

UK Athletics confirmed that they were aware of the incident. Bosworth posted again after, thanking the support he’s received on the platform, as well as from the governing body.

“On this occasion I decided not to take it further. Any repeat, that won’t be the case. I’m confident in my own skin and will protect those who aren’t.”

Bosworth won silver in the 20km race walk at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. His second stint at the Olympics would have been at Tokyo 2020, having finished sixth in the 20km final at the previous Olympics, Rio 2016.

Earlier this year, Bosworth also set back-to-back British records for the 5km and 10km race walks, just days prior to the announcement that Britain’s lockdown would begin.

“We’d just got so much right through the winter. All the hard work was kind of perfect and it all ground to a halt,” Bosworth told the BBC.

“I’m not going to lie, I took the dog for a walk, had a little cry to myself in the field. Thankfully no one else was around.”

“I threw the ball for the dog and went home and said ‘ok, athletes adapt’. I know how I got myself in this shape, and I know I can do it again next year.”

As one of the few openly gay athletes, Bosworth is often queried on his thoughts about the LGBTQ+ movements and conversations surrounding since his coming out in 2015. He proposed to his fiancé on Copacabana Beach during the Rio Olympics.

“I don’t feel like we’ve moved on at all, if I’m honest, unfortunately. It opened my eyes to a real world that I didn’t know anything about — LGBT inclusion in sport, and the lack of representation there.”

“It’s more ‘how do we make it a norm’, make it comfortable for people to live openly, rather than have to come out.”

“I never realised how big of a deal coming out publicly as a sportsman was until it happened. That became clear to me over the years, just how few LGB people are in sport, let alone LGBT, and reaching out to the rest of the community is going to come even further down the line before that becomes the norm or just commonplace.”

“So it’s disappointing – it’s changing really slowly though.”

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