Team GB athlete on homophobia: ‘I had my head smashed through a window’
Team GB athlete Tom Bosworth has spoken about experiencing homophobia.
The race walker, who competed for Great Britain at the World Athletics Championships and is in the team for the 2016 Olympics, opened up about his sexuality for the first time today.
Following the interview, he wrote in a blog: “My team-mates asked whether I had a partner and how old I was when I came out. They were intrigued by my sexuality and asked me whether I got any stick for being openly homosexual.
“The truth is that I used to. When I was competing in local athletics a number of years ago, some other athletes called me ‘fag’ or ‘queer’.
“A group of lads used to gang up on me and the worst episode came when they smashed my head through a window after a run-in.
“I decided not to tell anyone about it, so my parents or teachers didn’t know.
“I guess I was more worried about people blaming me than the students, but I had the support of my friends to get me through that tough time.”
In the interview, he had also revealed that he had support from Olympic medallist Mo Farah, a devout Muslim.
He said: “Coming out is no surprise to my friends, family and even team-mates – even Mo Farah, who didn’t bat an eyelid when I told him I was gay.
“I got to know him and others on the Great Britain endurance team prior to the World Athletics Championships in August after we spent a few weeks on a pre-training camp in Japan.
“It was a great chance to talk about it in a relaxed environment and everyone was very supportive of me being the first openly gay athlete on the GB team.”
“I’ve been comfortable with my sexuality and in a really happy relationship for the past four and a half years but in the build-up to the Rio Olympics next year, I don’t want this news to become a distraction or affect those closest to me,” he added.
“That’s why I want to speak publicly about being gay now.”
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