Following the announcement of the selection of the GB Badminton Team for the Tokyo Olympic Games on 28 June, comments emerged on social media from a small number of GB players regarding the GB performance environment.
While the announcement of athletes in many sports can divide opinion, the selection of the GB Olympic Badminton Team followed a robust process that was undertaken in accordance with the approved Tokyo 2020 Olympics Selection Policy. This process also included an independent Appeals Procedure where the outcome of the selection was ultimately determined through arbitration facilitated by Sport Resolutions.
The comments made included reference to athlete welfare, something that we take extremely seriously; the wellbeing of our players remains of paramount importance to our organisation and to the success of the programme. GB Badminton has acknowledged the comments made and continues to seek to have a constructive and productive dialogue with the players at this time while putting additional measures in place to help manage the situation, including engaging the British Athlete Commission to provide independent support to the players.
While the wellbeing of our players is critically important, the wellbeing of ‘the team behind the team’ is no less important. The challenge to the professionalism and integrity of our programme management, coaches, and support team, is something that we cannot condone and the personal and abusive attacks on social media platforms targeting our staff are completely unacceptable.
The situation we are in now is very disappointing and is a significant distraction to everyone involved with the GB badminton team – players, coaches, and support team – and all parties recognise that the sole focus, right now, must be on preparing to arrive in Tokyo in the best physical and mental condition, ready to make Great Britain proud, as we did in Rio 2016.
GB Badminton has committed to engage fully with all players on their return from Tokyo to listen, understand and tackle, head on, any challenges that might exist either within an individual player programme or the wider programme itself. Furthermore, GB Badminton has already requested that UK Sport initiate a culture health check to take place as soon as possible after the Games.
We have always been, and will continue to be, totally committed to providing the optimum performance environment that has seen the GB Badminton Olympic Programme achieve multi medal performances at World, European and Commonwealth level and one that has ensured that GB Badminton is represented in every event in Tokyo, including four Olympic debutants.
GB Badminton, the players, coaches, and support staff have worked tirelessly to enable the reinstatement of the GB Badminton Olympic programme and we are now just a matter of a few weeks away from the Games. For now, our intention is to avoid any further disruption and focus on final preparations.