French News is reporting that National Team swimmer Melanie Henique has been attacked outside of a restaurant in what is being described as a “homophobic attack.”
The 22-year old Henique, who was the bronze medalist in the 50 fly at the 2011 World Championships, says that she was with two friends last Friday coming out of a restaurant on June 26th in Amiens, when they were approached by four men.
The four men asked for cigarettes, she said, but continued that “she felt that wasn’t really what they wanted.”
Henique and her two female friends tried to leave, but that the men started to insult them and blocked their path. One of the men then hit Henique, and she says she’s not sure what else happened, but that she saw her friends on the ground as well.
“I had been insulted, but they had never hit me,” Henique said, who identifies herself as a lesbian, but says that she prefers to keep her private life private.
The alleged attack forced Henique to withdraw from the French Open last week and stop training for the upcoming World Championships which begin in less than a month in Kazan, Russia.
“She recovers and she will resume training on Monday,” said Sunday from Vichy the national technical director, Jacques Favre, to the AFP, saying that Henique would try and train with a mask on to reduce pressure on the injury.
“I am well aware of the homophobic climate in France today, unfortunately,” Henique said. “It is a form of racism is as unbearable as any other discrimination and it must be condemned as such” pleaded the Amiénoise, the two friends are unscathed.
Henique’s friends were not identified in the reports.