Commonwealth Games: Fans furious after 'disgraceful' rule denies cyclists a medal

Commonwealth Games: Sophie Unwin and Georgia Holt

English Para-cyclist Sophie Unwin was left in tears after she was denied a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games tandem B sprint.

The 28-year-old and her pilot Georgia Holt earned their third place finish after beating Scotland’s Libby Clegg and pilot Jenny Holl in the bronze medal race.

But despite their names being thrown up on all the screens inside the velodrome, they were denied access to the medal ceremony.

A teary Unwin and Holt were snubbed of their medals because only four of the five teams that entered actually started the event.

The Commonwealth Games has a rule that only awards gold and silver medals during such circumstances. However, this was apparently not communicated to the riders.

The English duo protested during the medal ceremony by posing behind the podium with their national flag before security asked them to move.

Unwin and Holt then had their own unofficial ceremony afterwards. They were snapped on the podium with bronze medals borrowed from England’s women’s team pursuit squad.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 29: Sophie Unwin and Georgia Holt of Team England pose for a photo after finishing third in the Women’s Tandem B – Finals on day one of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Lee Valley Velopark Velodrome on July 29, 2022 on the London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

The upset and disappointment felt by the two cyclists is shared by many supporters who have taken to social media to speak out against the situation.

“This is so sad… surely they deserve official bronze medals? What a ridiculous rule!” one Twitter user wrote.

Another individual said they were actually at the velodrome during the tandem B sprint and admitted the medal confusion was “a shambles.”

Commonwealth Games fans appear to be most unhappy about how the miscommunicated rule is seemingly making it difficult to promote inclusivity.

“They competed, they earned it. Unwin and Holt should have their medals awarded to them. The rules are outdated and need reviewing, these events are meant to promote inclusivity,” someone else added.

“This world is just too concerned with petty meaningless rules, the CWG needs to do the right thing — apologise for such an insult and humbly award the medals for such a huge achievement.  I thought the whole point is to encourage not penalise,” another wrote.

A lot of questions are also being asked over why the organisers even held a bronze medal final in the first place, if the medal itself was void.

“This was an utter disgrace, and heartbreaking to watch,” a user tweeted. “Crowd had no idea what was happening but could see both athletes upset and angry. If no bronze, why did @thecgf make them race for “the bronze” and show them in bronze position?”

Team England have raised the issue with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and have requested the rules be changed in order to promote greater inclusivity.

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