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British Paralympian Olivia Breen was left 'speechless" during a recent competition after an official said her sprint briefs were "too short and inappropriate."
The two-time Paralympic world champion had just finished competing in the long jump event at the English Championships in Bedford when the remark about her choice of clothing was made.
She was wearing a pair of official Adidas briefs for 2021 - a style of running brief that she has been wearing for years. In fact, Breen will "hopefully" be wearing them at next month's Tokyo games.
In a statement on her official Twitter account, the 24-year-old said the incident made her question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised.
She also pointed out that women should feel comfortable and at ease about what they are wearing when competing.
"I am always grateful for the incredible volunteers who officiate at athletics events," said Breen, who has cerebral palsy.
"They do an amazing job and make it possible for us to compete. However, tonight I feel disappointed because just as I finished my long jump competition one of the female officials felt it necessary to inform me that my sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate. I was left speechless.
"I have been wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in. I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised.
"I hope no other female athletes had similar issues. I recognise that there needs to be regulations and guidelines in relation to competition kit but women should not be made to feel self-conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should feel comfortable and at ease."
Breen later took to social media to post a picture of herself competing at the English Championships in Bedford.
"Thank you everyone for all your lovely supportive messages and I'm sorry to hear that it has happened to so many other people," she wrote. "Some people have asked what I was competing in yesterday so here is a picture.
"I don't think it is "objectionable" within the UKA regulations."
Thank you everyone for all your lovely supportive messages and I'm sorry to hear that it has happened to so many other people. Some people have asked what I was competing in yesterday so here is a picture.- oliviabreen (@BreenOlivia) July 19, 2021
I don't think it is " objectionable" within the UKA regulations pic.twitter.com/rnTPoTxGAz
A spokesperson from England Athletics spokesperson has since made a comment on the incident.
"We are aware of the post and will be investigating as a matter of urgency. The well-being of all participants in athletics is of the utmost importance and everyone should feel comfortable to compete and participate in the sport."
Breen told The Guardian that she intends to make an official complaint to UK Athletics.
Featured Image Credit: Olivia Breen/Twitter - PA
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