Researchers probe track and field sex abuse

Researchers at Linköping University have been tasked with establishing how common sexual harassment is within Sweden athletics, in the wake of revelations by Olympian Patrik Sjöberg that he was abused by his coach.

The team of researchers, who will conduct the study by contacting 500-600 people on the web and by mail, have been commissioned by the Swedish Athletics Federation.

“To my knowledge this will be the largest research study carried out,” said Toomas Timpka, professor at the University of Linköping Östgöta Correspondenten daily.

Champion high jumper Patrik Sjöberg has been critical of the Athletics Federation which he accuses of not having taken the problem seriously.

The controversial athlete caused a media storm earlier this year with revelations in his autobiography admitting that he had been sexually abused by his former coach Viljo Nousiainen.

Since the publication of the book he has regularly appeared in the media and was even invited to Parliament to discuss how to prevent more children and youngsters falling into a similar trap that he found himself in.

He courted further controversy in August when he revealed how he had slipped into a world of drug taking and partying as a way of dealing with his injuries.

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