Jesús Carballo, president of the Spanish Gymnastics Federation (RFEG), traveled to León this Monday afternoon to meet at the CAR (High Performance Center) with Ruth Fernández and her technical team (Nuria Castaño, Eva Pelayo and Beatriz Brito ). The four coaches are being investigated for allegedly committing verbal abuse with Claudia Jaimez, a minor rhythmic gymnast. Carballo has communicated to the four coaches that while the CSD (Higher Sports Council) completes the investigation opened last October and decides what sanction (if applicable) to apply based on the internal regulations, the most appropriate thing is that they do not follow going to the gymnastics room of the center. Likewise, they will not travel to the European rhythm group next June with the Spanish junior group.
Claudia Jaimez trained at the CAR of León under Ruth Fernández when she was 14 years old between November 2019 and the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. She reported verbal abuse and insults. She and her mother filed a complaint with the High Performance Center and the protection delegates opened a file as required by the new protocols for the prevention, detection and action against sexual harassment and abuse. The investigation lasted seven months.
The CSD resolution dated April 26 and signed by Joaquín de Arístegui, former CSD director of sports, to which this newspaper had access also pointed to the Federation itself. “The instruction procedure developed by the CSD Protection Delegates concludes with certain indications of abuse and harassment committed by coach Ruth Fernández and her technical team towards Claudia Jaimez, during her time as a gymnast in the CAR of León. Likewise, it reveals signs of omission and absence of reaction against them by the RFEG ”. Also, it reminded him of his responsibilities. “The RFEG is reminded of the responsibility derived from its powers, in relation to the safety of athletes, and the necessary firmness of reaction to behaviors that may undermine the correct physical, psychological and sports development of minors.”
Claudia Jaimez is now 16 years old and is in the fourth year of ESO. He was born and lives in Cádiz, where he returned after the Federation informed him, in August 2020, that he would not continue in the national team. He started with the rhythm when he was 7 years old. “The first month in León everything went well. After Christmas the insults started. “They made you feel like you were worthless. ‘Bollycao, marzipan, useless, you are the worst in the national team, you are worse than little girls. That way you won’t get anywhere, they’ll kick you out. ‘ You go into a loop because you get nervous about everything they are telling you and you are not able to focus on what you really have to do. And you get into a loop of failure, failure, failure and everything gets worse ”, he detailed a couple of days ago in a telephone conversation. He often came to train with anxiety pictures.
He also remembered the nightmare of having to go through the scale. “The days that you played were horrible. Because you already knew that your weight was going to determine the attitude of the trainers with you the rest of the afternoon. If you weighed more… they didn’t see you the same way, they saw you as a fat gymnast who is useless ”, says Claudia. How much is it to weigh more? “They never told me you have to be at this weight or you have to go down here, I just had to go down and down and I couldn’t go up. By then it weighed 47 ”.
The CSD had already sent a warning to Ruth Fernández in the course of a procedure in which the new Protocol was not applied, due to a complaint from another gymnast, Carla Vilasánchez. He also prohibited him from weighing the gymnasts, reminding him that this had to be agreed with the Spanish Agency for protection and health in sport (AEPSAD).
Once the instruction is finished, now the CSD Advisory Committee will compile the information for the sanctioning file. This procedure can be extended for several weeks because, in addition, the internal regulations of high-performance centers are from 2015 (prior to the update of the protocols) and they are simple rules of use of the facilities (such as access to a restaurant) with a reference to compliance with the protocols and provide penalties from 8 days to 12 months with “loss of user status.”