15 July 2020

Denise Lewis says athletes ‘taking a knee’ at 2022 Commonwealth Games is down to the individual

Denise Lewis has said athletes ‘taking a knee’ at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham is down to individual choice.  

The Commonwealth Games Federation has joined the list of sports bodies allowing athletes to protest against racism without facing any consequences.

In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, athletes from around the globe have shown their support by taking a knee. 

CGF chief executive David Grevemberg said the conversations amid racism should be ‘embraced,’ as the Games will host more than 70 nations and territories, many of them from Africa and the Caribbean.

Former Olympic heptathlon champion, Lewis, told PA News Agency: "The whole point of the (Black Lives Matter) movement and taking the knee is very much individual and subjective to the athletes that are competing.

"I'm sure there are athletes that will absolutely want to do that and there'll be some that won't.

"But what we are trying to get to is a playing field that is tolerant and accepting of people's desires and needs.

"I personally don't have a problem with it, athletes will choose to do what they want, and it's great that the Federation is tolerant of that.

“If you've been watching sport over the last few weeks there's a real need to represent the people that take part. It brings together any denomination - whatever ethnicity, sexual preference an athlete may be.”

The 2022 Commonwealth Games will run from July 27 to August 7 in Birmingham. 

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