<
>

Ellie Soutter death: Father criticises pressure on young athletes

Ellie Soutter (left) competing in the snowboardcross at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Erzurum, Turkey in 2017. Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The father of Team GB snowboarder Ellie Soutter -- who died on her 18th birthday -- has called for more to be done to raise awareness of mental health in high-level sport.

The British Olympics Association announced her death in a statement released on Twitter; among other tributes, British Ski & Snowboard added that she was one of the country's best snowboard prospects.

Last year, Soutter won bronze at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Erzurum, Turkey -- Team GB's only medal at the event.

Now, her father, Tony, has spoken publicly for the first time since and believes there was a lot of pressure placed on his daughter's shoulders while competing at high-level sport and has called for action to help other young athletes.

"Mental health awareness needs to be really looked at and made more public," he told BBC South East.

"She wanted to be the best," he said.

"She didn't want to let anybody down. Unfortunately it all came about from missing a flight which then meant she didn't go training with the GB squad.

"She felt she'd let them down, felt she'd let me down and just tragically it just takes one silly little thing like that to tip someone over the edge, because there's a lot of pressure on children."