Olympic medallist Amy Tinkler has criticised British Gymnastics for the time it has taken to investigate her formal complaint over allegations of bullying and abuse within the sport.
In a new statement on social media, the 20-year-old said other girls had contacted her with similar allegations.
“I beg British Gymnastics to move swifter and take proactive action about our complaints,” said Tinkler.
British Gymnastics said it had been in “regular touch” with Tinkler throughout the complaints process, which has now moved to the “next stage of procedures” following an initial investigation.
South Durham Gymnastics, which forms part of Tinkler’s complaint, “categorically denies” any allegations of abuse and says it has “fully co-operated” with British Gymnastics’ investigation.
Tinkler was Great Britain’s youngest medallist at the Rio Olympics , when she won bronze aged 16. She has also won one world medal, three European medals and 10 British titles.
She retired from the sport in January, initially citing injury but later saying it was because of her “experiences as a club and elite gymnast”.
She said: “I can confirm that the complaint I submitted in December 2019 related to my experience at South Durham Gymnastics Club and against part of the British Gymnastics coaching team.
“I say this now as I’ve been contacted by girls and parents from the club and the gymnastics community who have told me of similar stories, some of whom have spoken to the media, and others who are still scared to talk.”
Tinkler said she hoped her speaking out would encourage others who are “yet to share their story” to come forward.
“I’ve also been chasing British Gymnastics for a timeline on their investigation into my complaint,” she added.
“I understand it could still take four months or more to reach a conclusion, making it nearly 12 months from my original complaint.
“I’m unhappy at the length of time this is taking as it leaves vulnerable gymnasts at risk of abuse from known clubs and coaches.”
Earlier this month, British Gymnastics announced an independent review will take place following allegations of mistreatment from a number of athletes.
The governing body told BBC Sport on Tuesday: “We have been in regular touch with Amy Tinkler and her mother throughout this process. It is wrong to suggest otherwise. An initial summary of the complaint was made in late December 2019. Full evidence was provided in mid-March 2020.
“As we have already advised Amy and her family, the investigation phase is now complete and we have moved to the next stage of procedures. To be clear, every complaint is looked at in accordance with our procedures by our integrity unit to assess immediate risk to gymnasts.
“If the evidence available at the time of the initial complaint suggests an immediate risk of harm to gymnasts, we take immediate action to protect gymnasts. These are often complex cases dealing with multiple issues across an elongated timeframe.
“The procedures are in place to protect the integrity of the process and ensure fairness for all parties involved.”
South Durham Gymnastics chairman Paul Anderson said: “South Durham Gymnastics categorically denies any allegations of abuse and mistreatment of any of its gymnasts.
“We can confirm that we were first informed of a complaint in April 2020 and have been in regular contact with British Gymnastics and we have fully co-operated with their lengthy investigation.
“The investigation is at an advanced stage and we do not wish to comment further until this matter is concluded.”
Louise Exton, NSPCC Helpline Service Head, said: “Amy Tinkler is not alone in her experiences of bullying and mistreatment within gymnastics and it was incredibly brave for her to speak out as well as hugely important.
“We encourage anyone who has similar concerns, whether you’re a parent, gymnast or someone involved in the sport at all levels to contact our free and confidential helpline to voice your concerns, ask questions or seek advice. Every call is important.”
In a statement on Tuesday, the president of gymnastics’ world governing body the FIG, Morinari Watanabe, said it was vital all competitors’ voices were heard.
In a statement on the organisation’s website, he said: “As president of the FIG, the bravery of these athletes gives me hope. It means that there is a genuine will for change.
“It means that some old, authoritarian methods – however successful they might have been in the past – are not tolerated anymore.
“I want to tell the gymnasts who have the courage to speak out that their voices matter.”