SportSG “dismayed” over former national figure skater Yu Shuran abuse in China, pledges to support her

Sport Singapore (SportSG) and the Singapore Ice Skating Association (SISA) will be supporting former national figure skater Yu Shuran, who has spoken out about the abuse she suffered while training in China.

Yu, who was born and raised in Beijing to a Chinese mother and Singaporean father, had opened up to The Guardian on 21 July about the abuse that she went through in China, which she described the abuse was “dehumanising”.

The 19-year-old decided to speak out after watching Athlete A, a Netflix documentary detailing sexual abuse in American gymnastics, and reading claims of widespread abuse in British Gymnastics.

She also recounted in an Instagram post on 22 July that the physical abuse started when she was just eleven years old.

“My coach would hit me using a guard. For those of you who don’t know, guards are the plastic covers that protect our blades. It makes a whipping sound when it is swung at you and leaves red marks when it makes contact with your skin,” she wrote.

Yu, who won a gold medal for Singapore at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, also described being kicked with the toe-pick of a skate that bloodied her shin and left a lasting scar.

“On especially bad days, I would get hit more than ten times in a row, until my skin was raw,” she remarked.

According to a spokesman for the national sports agency in Singapore, Yu has also reached out to SISA’s safeguarding officer and the Safe Sport Taskforce with regards on the abuse.

“The wellbeing of all athletes is paramount to the legitimacy of sport. Jessica [Yu] has reached out to SISA’s Safeguarding Officer and the Safe Sport Taskforce, and we are supporting her as necessary,” the SportSG told The Straits Times on Friday (24 July).

The SportSG spokesman said: “Safe sport policies and measures continue to be enhanced for sport in Singapore. To date, nearly 100 safeguarding officers have been trained and a number of safe sport engagements for the sporting community on how we may collectively safeguard sport have been staged.

“All efforts are taken to ensure everyone in the fraternity – athletes, coaches and officials, understand how crucial safe sport is and are aware of the due reporting process for athletes to either a Safeguarding Officer or directly to the Safe Sport Taskforce.

“These efforts must continue unabated. Our National Sports Associations (NSAs) do keep our overseas-based athletes informed and updated on the support channels in place for them. Overseas-based athletes can reach out to the safe guarding officers in their NSAs should they require advice and support.”

SISA also took to Facebook to applaud Yu’s strength and courage to speak out about the experience, adding that it is working closely with the Safe Sport Taskforce to build public awareness and media outreach for safe sport initiatives.

“We are indeed dismayed to learn about her experience and thank her for reaching out to us,” it asserted.

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July 2020
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