Sports News

Greece ministry urges probe after Olympic medallist talks of sexual assault

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s sports ministry urged judicial and sports authorities on Saturday to look into Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou’s statements that she had been sexually assaulted by a sports official in 1998.

Bekatorou, a gold medallist at the 2004 Olympics, referred to the incident during an online conference organised by the ministry this week, without naming the official.

She said that she did not open up about her abuse at the time, fearing that such a move would be devastating for her life dream and divide the Greek sailing team, according to the transcript released by the ministry.

But the decade that followed was tough.

“In this period, I achieved most of my country’s distinctions in sailing but have lost the most precious value of my personality: Loving myself”, Bekatorou was quoted as saying.

The Hellenic Sailing Federation said in a statement that it had not previously been informed formally or informally about the incident, and it urged Bekatorou to be specific.

“We urge the complainant, if she took the initiative even after so many years to talk about this unpleasant incident, to become specific,” it said, adding that it would do the right thing if the case falls under its competence.

The ministry urged judicial authorities and the relevant disciplinary bodies in sports to investigate the case promptly.

IOC member and head of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Kapralos said he would support Bekatorou with “all his might” and called on other athletes to speak up.

“We need to have a safe, ethical, decent and pure sports environment,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Hugh Lawson