Athletes write open letter about toxic climate in national team of Portugal
Seven Olympic judokas denounce "toxic climate", "oppressive attitudes" and "intimidation" in the national team. In the open letter, signed by Telma Monteiro, the athletes target the president of the federation, Jorge Fernandes.
Seven Olympic judokas, including the medal winner Telma Monteiro, released an open letter denouncing the "unsustainable and toxic climate", pointing the finger at the federation (FPJ), particularly at the organization's president, Jorge Fernandes.
Athletes Anri Egutidze, Bárbara Timo, Catarina Costa, Patrícia Sampaio, Rochele Nunes, Rodrigo Lopes and Telma Monteiro speak of "oppressive and discriminatory attitudes" within the national team and call for "the intervention of the Secretary of State for Sport, of the Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth and the Portuguese Olympic Committee".
The judokas, who confess to feeling "exhausted", want to end the mandatory internships in Coimbra and say that "Jorge Fernandes assumes numerous functions, including imposing technical decisions and national teams that denote a lack of respect for the coaches themselves".
They add that "an environment of intimidation" was created, they speak of "reprisals" and "disorganization", further denouncing that the president of the FPJ prohibited athletes from speaking publicly about mental health, "so as not to give a weak image". They also denounce discriminatory treatment towards athletes born in Brazil. "You in Brazil did not drink a Coca-Cola and now you arrive here, we give you a hand and you want everything", said Jorge Fernandes, quoted by the athletes in the released document.
The judokas also ask that the Olympic scholarships be managed by the Olympic Committee of Portugal.