AMY TINKLER has criticised British Gymnastics over the time taken to deal with her complaint over bullying - and revealed that part of her complaints relate to her time at South Durham Gymnastics Club.

Earlier this month, Bishop Auckland-born Tinkler said her "experiences as a club and elite gymnast", and the subsequent failure of British Gymnastics to act on her complaint, led her to announce her retirement in January.

The 20-year-old said she had no option but to quit gymnastics less than four years after becoming Great Britain's youngest medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

She has expanded on the situation on social media, and revealed that some of her complaints relate to her time with the South Durham club, which is based in Spennymoor.

Tinkler spent more than a decade as a young gymnast with South Durham before switching clubs to move to South Essex in the aftermath of her Olympic success in Rio.

"I can confirm that the complaint I submitted in December 2019 related to my experience at South Durham Gymnastics Club and against part of the British Gymnastics coaching team," Tinkler wrote on social media.

"I've also been chasing British Gymnastics for a timeline on their investigation into my complaint. I understand it could still take 4 months or more to reach a conclusion, making it nearly 12 months from my original complaint.

"I'm unhappy at the length of time this is taking as it leaves vulnerable gymnasts at risk of abuse from known clubs and coaches.

"I beg British Gymnastics to move swifter and take proactive action about our complaints."

Gymnasts from all ages and levels of the sport have gone public to reveal instances of bullying and abuse which have prompted British Gymnastics to launch an independent review.

Tinkler spoke out after the Downie sisters, Becky and Ellie, described an "environment of fear and mental abuse" in British gymnastics and said they had been "left deep scars which will never be healed".

"I would like to thank you all for the support you have given me over the past two weeks since releasing my statement," added Tinkler, who is a former overall winner at The Northern Echo's Local Heroes Awards.

"I say this now as I've been contacted by girls and parents from the club and the gymnastics community who have told me of similar stories, some of whom have spoken to the media, and others who are still scared to talk.

"I hope by me speaking up again, it encourages those who have yet to share their story to come forward.

"Please, please, please don't be scared, it's important that you speak up and the NSPCC helpline is available for all of us between 8am to 10pm on weekdays and 9am to 6pm on weekends on 0800 056 0566."

The NSPCC has described the allegations of bullying and abuse within British Gymnastics as "extremely disturbing".

UK Sport and Sport England will co-commission an independent review after British Gymnastics relinquished its role in the process to avoid potential conflicts of interest.