Climber Johanna Farber issued apology after broadcaster ‘objectifies' athlete with close-up

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A star rock climber has been issued an apology for the second time in just months after lingering, close-up replay vision of her bottom was shown to viewers during a competition in Moscow.

Johanna Farber, 23, was competing at the Climbing World Championships when the questionable vision was captured and then played to audiences.

The International Federation of Sport Climbing said it “condemns the objectification of the human body and will take further action in order for it to stop, and to protect the athletes”.

“The IFSC would like to deeply apologise to Johanna Färber, Austria Climbing, all the athletes, and the entire Sport Climbing community for the images that were broadcast during the women’s Boulder semi-final at the IFSC Climbing World Championships Moscow 2021,” the federation said in a statement.

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IFSC president Marco Scolaris also issued a comment: “How many times will things have to be done wrong, before we learn how to do them right?”

Farber, an Austrian native, had already been subject to “inappropriate” coverage during a World Cup event in June, with an Instagram post sparking controversy. She labelled that vision as both “disrespectful and upsetting”.

Sport climbing was a popular addition at the Tokyo Olympics where it made its debut, however the surge in interest has been somewhat tarnished by concerns that not enough is being done to protect female competitors.

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“For this disrespectful incident to happen once again to the same athlete is very disappointing, at a time when more eyes are on the sport than ever before and more women and girls are being introduced to climbing,” former GB climber Natalie Berry told Sky News.

“While the intentions of the camera operators and editors may not be to sexualise an athlete and instead to focus on a visually interesting chalky handprint, in the context of the sexualisation of women in sport throughout history, it's quite simply inappropriate.”

Berry backed talk of strict new policies to keep photography and filming in check, as has been implemented in other sports.

“If athletes feel that their bodies are being inappropriately presented on-screen, it could unfairly affect their performance as well as their mental health,” she said.

A spokesperson for Farber said: “We need to stop sexualising women in sports and start to appreciate their performance.”

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