British athlete Tom Bosworth said he will risk prison to defend LGBT rights during the 2019 World Championships in Qatar.
The athlete – who is openly gay – won a silver medal in the 20km race walk at the Commonwealth Games this year and achieved the second world record of his career at the London Stadium over the weekend.
And now, Bosworth is set to compete in the World Championships this autumn in Qatar – a country which criminalises homosexuality – but said he won’t be afraid to speak out.
He told The Independent: “There’s many questions as to why this championship’s ended up where it has.
“I think the athletes and perhaps even the sport has been forgotten. Obviously Qatar wants to make a statement.
“They’ve got the football world cup [in 2022] as well. If it’s about money, there’s other options.
“I’ve told my fiancée, ‘Don’t even consider coming. I don’t want you or my family to come’. I will not be afraid to speak out.
“I’m going there to do a job and compete but I want to do that safely, happily and I want those opportunities for everybody.”
Homosexuality is still illegal in Qatar and carries a prison sentence of one to three years but can be up to five years for a gay man.
The Gulf state also doesn’t recognise same-sex marriages or civil partnerships and has strict rules on people campaigning for LGBT+ rights.