The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) Athletes’ Commission is disappointed to learn of the decision by Federation International de Gymnastique (FIG), whereby Northern Irish athletes, including Olympian Rhys McClenaghan, have been informed of their ineligibility to represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games later this year and calls for review and reversal of this decision.
Rhys McClenaghan is from Northern Ireland, is the 2018 Commonwealth Games Champion, and competed for Ireland in the Tokyo Olympics.
Besides the relevance of the Good Friday agreement for the people of Northern Ireland, the FIG is out of line with other sports on this matter where athletes from Northern Ireland can choose to represent either Team Ireland or Team GB internationally, as well as representing Northern Ireland at Commonwealth Games. This principle is accepted fully by both Gymnastics Ireland and British Gymnastics as well as the Olympic Federation of Ireland across all sports.
At the heart of FIG, as outlined in their mission statement, is a commitment to upholding and promoting the health and well-being of athletes, and inclusiveness. The OFI Athletes’ Commission is calling on FIG to reverse its decision based on the specific realities of Northern Ireland, and the welfare of the athletes implicated.