WOMANTRA stands in defence of TT gymnasts

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WOMANTRA, a local organisation dedicated to fighting for women’s rights, yesterday came out in defence of Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams and Marisa Dick who have both been sent to the disciplinary committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) over topless photos of the pair,

Williams is currently preparing for a Rio Olympics Test Qualifying event in April while Dick is her alternate,

Williams’ photo, posted on Instagram a year ago, was sent to the media on Tuesday by a “Georgette Heinz” who claimed her young daughter and aspiring gymnast found the photo online,

Heinz described the picture as “disgraceful” and demanded an investigation by the TT GF over what she termed “lewd photographs”,

Williams, who covered her breasts with her hands and arm in the photo, told Newsday in an exclusive interview that she viewed the photo as “artistic”,

Two days later, however, a “Kamara Heinz” sent a picture of Marisa to the TT GF and media which showed the gymnast also topless signalling “five” with her hands supposedly over a fifth place finish at a tournament,

WOMANTRA yesterday chided both “Heinz”, stating: “The ‘Heinz’ parties who posted and shared these photos attempted to shame and undermine the careers of these professional athletes on the basis of their preparation and behaviour. the statement accompanying the Williams photo is reflective of a larger systematic problem in our country referred to as the policing of women’s bodies.” WOMANTRA also chastised the TT GF, led by president David Marquez, for sending the matter for disciplinary hearing,

“...rather than condemning the actions of the ‘Heinz’ parties, (the TT GF) has sanctioned these acts of body policing, character assassination and misogyny..,

The TT GF has disrespected these athletes and their professional contributions, and potentially jeopardised their chances of attaining international success, as they are presently in the midst of critical preparation.” The body called for an immediate end to any TT GF disciplinary process as well as a statement by the federation condemning the “defamation” against the gymnasts

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