Spanish rhythmic gymnastics is in shock after the complaint made by the five-time Spanish champion María Añó in the ABC newspaperin which the gymnast denounced having suffered verbal abuse, mistreatment and humiliation by one of her trainers in the Benicarló gym where she trained and where these events took place.
After the commotion generated by his statements on ABC, Añó, 20, went through the program La Hora de La 1 this Wednesday to narrate the hard episodes he experienced and how going to a psychologist made him open his eyes to find out true the situation I was going through. “I remember the day one of my coaches told me that I was crazy and that I needed a psychologist. because she was deranged and she was crazy. I quickly went home and told my mother: ‘My coach told me that I’m crazy and that I need a psychologist.’ So My mother signed me up for a psychologist and that’s when he opened my eyes and said: ‘María, what you’re telling me, what you’re telling me that they’re doing to you is not normal. It is not normal that with the age he was, they talk to you that way. They can’t tell you that, when you go out to compete and fail, they tell you that you go out to fail and that you make a fool of them, that you are fat, that they weigh you down. Rhythmic gymnastics is disciplined and demanding like any sport, but there are limits. When I go to the psychologist I open my eyes and I realize what is happening in there and in competitions it is not normal.
A mistreatment that also lay at the time of feeding, since Añó recounted how this trainer left him without eating when he failed in a competition and the strict regimen to which she subjected him before some tests. “They punished me with food. They restricted me food in all competitions. In Valladolid, in a group test, my partner and I failed and he gave the other partners the piece of chicken that he ordered us for dinner and he gave me and my partner the bone and told us that we didn’t deserve to eat because we had failed. In competitions like the 2018 World Cup, the coach and the director told us that we were dead. We ate watermelon, which I had braces on and I remember that it was very difficult for me to eat watermelon; of soup, but without noodles because it was pasta and it was fattening; He wouldn’t let us eat bananas either because he said it made us quite fat; and in the 2018 European Championship the days we were there we ate tonic water”.
A dramatic situation that Añó herself confessed that she normalized and that she hardly discussed it with her family, in addition to revealing that she was afraid to say it in case it would end her dream of being a gymnast. “As it was something that happened regularly and not in a timely manner, I normalized it. I would leave training crying, come home, cry in my room, take a shower and go to sleep. I have rarely spoken with my mother about how they said or did those things to me in training. Yes, it is true that the weight was seen by everyone. What happens is that it was more personal than saying ‘Mom, I can’t eat what you’re giving me or what my cousins eat at a family meal because the next day or that afternoon they’re going to weigh me. And as she gains 200 or 300 grams, they’re going to keep me running until she gets tired. I live in a town where there is only this club and if I speak or complain or if my mother removes me from that club or if they kick me out for talking, my dream will end. It was very small. I didn’t think that if I spoke it would be solved, I thought that if I spoke it would make things worse. As was usual, I normalized it and I just had to put up with it ”.