Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has welcomed the International Gymnastics Federation’s (FIG) reversal of its decision to exclude local gymnasts from competing in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games on account of having competed for Team Ireland.
Minister Hargey, who had contacted the Federation immediately on learning of its decision to exclude the three athletes, said she welcomed its revised decision after her intervention on the athletes’ behalf.
Minister Hargey said:
“I welcome today’s decision on behalf of local athletes. I spoke to Eamon Montgomery, Ewan McAteer and Rhys McClenaghan following the original decision by FIG and they were devastated by the move.
“I am delighted these three talented local athletes can now continue their focused preparations for competing at this year’s Commonwealth Games next month in Birmingham.
Minister Hargey added she would continue to support the unique position of local athletes across all sporting codes.
“The Federation’s decision rightly recognises the unique position that is conferred upon our citizens under the Good Friday Agreement.
“This needs to be respected across all codes and in all international competitions.
“I am fully committed to continuing to support all our athletes and to ensure their right to participate in sport is protected.
“I hope that today’s announcement sends a strong message of encouragement to our athletes and will inspire more young people to get engaged in sport, particularly on the international stage.”
Notes to editors:
- Photo caption: Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is pictured (l-r) Ewan McAteer, Eamon Montgomery and Rhys McClenaghan
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