World championship skater opens up about China abuse

Singapore: A world championship figure skater has opened up about physical and mental abuse she allegedly suffered while training in China, which included being kicked, hit and called insulting names.

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Jessica Shuran Yu, who was born and trained in China but competed internationally for Singapore, is the latest athlete to make abuse allegations in recent weeks.

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Yu detailed the alleged mistreatment in an Instagram post, saying that her coach hurled insults at skaters such as “lazy”, “fat”, “stupid” and “useless”.

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“I was eleven years old when the physical abuse started,” wrote Yu, who competed in the 2017 world championships, describing how her coach would hit her using a plastic blade cover.

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“When he got angry with me, which seemed to happen whenever I made the smallest mistake, he would ask me to reach out a hand.

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

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Her coach would also kick her shin with the blade of a skate, the 19-year-old said.

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“Even though I would be bleeding from his kick, I would have to turn around and continue practice without limping as to avoid angering him more,” she said in the post on Wednesday.

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She said the physical abuse “levelled off when I started competing in the seniors. However, the verbal and mental abuse was consistent. I don’t remember a time without it.”

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As a Singaporean athlete who had trained in China, Yu said she was in a unique position to speak out about the “culture of abuse” in China.

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Yu, who has now retired from competitive skating, said there was a “toxicity that plagues aesthetic sports like gymnastics and figure-skating”, adding: “This needs to be talked about.”

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“If publicising my story can raise some awareness, spark some anger, and help others deal with their experiences, then it is more than worth it,” she added.

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Her allegations of mistreatment are the latest to rock the world of sports.

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Former Australian gymnasts have gone public with accounts of physical, mental and emotional abuse, while activists this week called on Japan to tackle “rampant” mistreatment of young athletes.

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The case of a South Korean triathlete who took her own life captured global headlines earlier this month, while bullying and sexual harassment controversies have also emerged in the US and UK.

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The Morning and Evening Brief

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