'If it's not racism, then what is it?': Mother reacts to young black gymnast denied medal

25 September 2023, 17:09

'I felt teary': Sangita Myska gives her reaction to young black gymnast denied medal

By Abbie Reynolds

Mother shares how her black daughter was also overlooked as a child, in light of resurfaced video where a young gymnast was left disappointed during a medal ceremony.

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Caller Maria said: "I've also seen the footage over the weekend and I am shocked and disgusted."

This comes after a video resurfaced of a young black gymnast who was 'overlooked' during a ceremony where her peers were given medals.

Speaking to LBC's Charlotte Lynch, Sangita said the video made her "teary".

READ MORE: Outpouring of support for black girl ‘overlooked’ for gymnastics medal in Ireland as official body issues ‘unreserved’ apology

Maria told Sangita Myska: "I think the child in question handled it incredibly well. But the problem is she shouldn't have been allowed to be in a situation where she had to take on those adult emotions and deal with that.

"She was ashamed, she was confused, it was quite easy to see that."

"Yes, that's exactly it," Sangita started in agreement. "It's that there is an adult, who is handing out medals, it is obvious that that person has a duty of care towards all of those little kids.

"And there is just one little girl, who on the first view of that video, is being singled out for whatever reason and has to carry the weight of that humiliation."

Gymnastics Ireland issued a belated apology and the official involved described the incident as an “honest error”.

"Yeah, and if it wasn't racism, then what was it?" Maria, who is black and living in Brent, stated. "This is why I've called in it just mirrored something that happened to my now 25-year-old daughter."

"She was in Year 5, at school and it was a play at the end of the year and teachers were giving out medals to every child just for being in Year 5 and about to be going into Year 6.

"So she was what, 9 or 10 and everybody got a card and a medal and she didn't get it. We have - to this day - no reason for why she didn't get it."

"If it wasn't racism, then what was it?": Caller and Sangita unpack black gymnast story

"I remember thinking, 'They are going to remember her in a minute.' - this was in front of the whole school."

Maria said that when her daughter came off the stage she was "crushed". As a mother she said she had to "reassure" her daughter "that it was not a reflection of her but of the adults".

READ MORE: ‘It’s the intent that makes it racist’: James O’Brien caller insists racism and unconscious bias aren't the same