Kitty Chiller, the deputy director of the Australian National Sports Tribunal and member of the executive body of the Australian Olympic Committee, has been sanctioned for her role in adjudicating irregularities at a 2021 Olympic qualifying event and banned from representing international gymnastics bodies for two years . †
Earlier this week, the disciplinary committee of the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation announced that an investigation found violations of International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) rules during the 2021 Oceania Continental Championships in rhythmic gymnastics.
In addition to punishing Chiller, who was the CEO of gymnastics Australia has suspended the commission from two Australian gymnastics judges, Virginia Elliott and Erin Pankoke, and has fined Gymnastics Australia and the Oceania Gymnastics Union in excess of $7,000 each plus costs.
All sanctioned parties have the right to appeal the decision within 21 days.
It raises questions as to whether Chiller’s sanction was consistent with her appointment to the NST.
On Wednesday, former gymnast Mary-Anne Monckton, a two-time Commonwealth Games silver medalist, posted on Twitter: “How can Kitty Chiller keep her job as deputy CEO of the National Sports Tribunal?”
The championships took place on the Gold Coast last May as part of the wider Australian gymnastics championships. Lidiia Iakovleva narrowly defeated Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva with a score difference of only 2.5 points. According to Gymnastics Australia’s website, the event was “moved” after a “technical irregularity”. Eighteen-year-old Iakovleva represented Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, while Kiroi-Bogatyreva missed the match.
Chiller, a former modern pentathlete who competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, became the first woman to lead an Australian Olympic team as chef de mission at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She caused controversy with her public criticism of tennis star Nick Kyrgioswho withdrew from the Olympics battle over what he described as “unfair and unjust treatment”.
Chiller released a statement at the time that said, “With regard to selection, every athlete in combat will be treated fairly and equally.”
More recently, Chiller helped Gymnastics Australia through a turbulent period as it dealt with allegations of widespread abuse within the sport. An independent assessment by the Australian Human Rights Commission revealed “systemic risk factorswithin sport that exacerbated the risk of child abuse, sexual harassment and bullying.
Gymnastics Australia’s response to complaints of abuse during Chiller’s tenure has been criticized† Earlier this year, the ABC reported that Chiller’s office had co-created the policy for what has been termed an “independent” complaints process, with some complaints deemed “out of range†
Gymnastics Australia told Guardian Australia it was aware of the decision and would “take time to consider the decision and the next steps for the organization and the sport”.
A spokesperson said: “Given that the individuals concerned have 21 days to appeal the sanctions, Gymnastics Australia will not reserve further comment on the matter at this time.”
A spokesman for the Australian Olympic Committee said it noted the sanction and was “not aware of the nature or details of the matter and further notes that there is scope for appeal.” The spokesperson added: “While qualifying events are a matter for individual sports federations, the AOC has had full confidence in the integrity of the nomination and selection process.”
The AOC did not respond to a specific question from Guardian Australia whether it was appropriate for Chiller to retain her position as the AOC director, given the negative finding and its link to the Australian Olympic team.
Guardian Australia asked Chiller for comment through the National Sports Tribunal, but received no response at the time of publication. The body was established by the federal government in 2020 following a review of sports integrity schemes in Australia. It is led by John Boultbee, an experienced Australian sports administrator.
On Wednesday a representative of the Tribunal told the ABC that “Mrs. Chiller has not had and will have no involvement in any gym business (of any kind) coming to the NST.”
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