British Triathlon has today announced the launch of a Black Triathletes Network in an effort to “show ethnically diverse athletes that triathlon can be a place for them”.
In a post on Facebook they said: “Join the Black Triathletes Network. A virtual community aiming to connect those who are passionate about swim, bike, run from ethnically diverse backgrounds.”
The network comes in the form of a Facebook group, which people from all backgrounds can join and use to share their experiences of triathlon.
The announcement was met with mixed feedback, with some claiming the move was divisive. One Facebook user replied to British Triathlon’s post and said: “I understand there may be barriers for certain minority groups getting into sports such as triathlon but creating further division is the opposite of the answer.
“Creating a black triathlon network is like saying that the current triathlon network is not viable or unwelcoming for minorities. Neither [of] which are the case. Triathlon is an inclusive sport.”
Another Facebook user commented: “Doesn’t this run counter to the idea of inclusivity? Why are we creating little cliques? Seems to me that exercises and projects like this promote division rather than inclusivity.”
In reply to some of the comments, British Triathlon said: “We have established the Black Triathletes Network to show ethnically diverse athletes that triathlon can be a place for them, help support the growth of swim, bike, run and help make the sport more accessible. It is an inclusive group and we welcome supporters and members from all backgrounds who share our vision.”
Replying to another user, they went on to say: “Triathlon is a sport which is open to everyone but unfortunately there is work to be done to challenge the misconceptions that exist around the sport. 2.4% ethnic diversity is such a small percentage and one we need to work together as a sport to improve on.”
Many users meanwhile praised British Triathlon for the new network, with one user saying: “The inevitability of white men telling people of colour what support they do and don’t need is exactly why this is needed.”
Another wrote: “Congratulations British Triathlon! Fantastic idea! Great to see you lifting barriers (even if they’re invisible to some). It’s very simple. People find it easier to do things with other people who they know and fit in with. The more people we bring to our sport the sooner the barriers come down. And this is a great way to do it.”
If you’re interested in joining the Black Triathletes Network, you can find it here.
Image credit: Warren Little/Getty Images