Bethany Firth: BBC defend coverage of swim star’s Commonwealth Games gold following criticism they ‘ignored’ athlete

The BBC has defended its coverage of Northern Ireland’s success at the Commonwealth Games after taking to social media to criticize Bethany Firth in Wednesday night’s news bulletin for “ignoring” her.

he 26-year-old swimmer won Northern Ireland’s first gold medal at the Birmingham Games in the S14 event in the 200m freestyle, followed by fellow swimmer Daniel Wiffen, who won silver in the men’s 1500m freestyle at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

However, News at Ten’s main programming focused coverage of the Games solely on athletes from England and Scotland and failed to mention Northern Ireland’s success in the Bulletin.

Former Ulster Unionist Party MLA and leader Danny Kennedy led criticism of the organization, branding it “shockingly poor coverage by BBC News and BBC Sport”.

“I’m ignoring Bethany Firth of Northern Ireland’s gold medal success at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Shameful but why am I not surprised,” he tweeted.

Another user added: “I only heard about her win on Radio Ulster this morning”.

However, others disagreed with Mr Kennedy on the coverage, with Katherine responding on Twitter: “I watched the race and the post-race interview live and the medal ceremony.

“The race was also covered by Today at the Games. In fairness, Bethany, Kate O’Connor’s silver in the heptathlon and Dan Wiffen’s silver in the 1500 meter swim all received considerable coverage.”

And another added: “No, I disagree. Her race was shown live with a good setup, she was interviewed after the race and the awards ceremony was also shown. I was pleased to see that she got the coverage.”

In a reply to that newspaper, the BBC said coverage of Firth’s success had been shown on many platforms.

“Bethany Firth’s gold medal success has been featured on many BBC News programmes, including BBC Breakfast, News at One, Today and 5 Live,” said the BBC spokesman.

“This is in addition to the main coverage of the Commonwealth Games on BBC One and BBC Sport online.”

Firth led Northern Ireland in a spectacular day of success at the Commonwealth Games, during which the team picked up a sensational six medals.

Heptathlete Kate O’Connor also took home a silver medal for Northern Ireland, behind England’s former world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson. Bethany Firth: BBC defend coverage of swim star’s Commonwealth Games gold following criticism they ‘ignored’ athlete

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