Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington in ‘shark fin’ Twitter abuse by Leeds student

DOUBLE Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington has been receiving abusive messages on Twitter, apparently from a Leeds student.

The 23-year-old was catapulted into the public eye after her triumphs in the 400 metres and 800m freestyle in Beijing, with the Mansfield-born athlete feted on her return to Great Britain.

However, not everybody was so pleased for the Nova Centurion swimmer.

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Yesterday Adlington posted a message that has been sent to her on Twitter, prefacing it with: “I had a perfect example of what has been said in the papers this week tweeted to me this morning. I apologise for the swearing when I RT it!”

She then posted: “How lovely is this person...” before retweeting a message to her which read: “@BeckAdlington you shark fin nosed d*******, you belong in that pool you f****** whale.”

Today it was reported that the message, which was signed @CallumAspley, had been traced to a 19-year-old student at Leeds Metropolitan Universiry who is himself a keen sportsman. He in turn blamed one of his friends for sending it at 11 o’clock on Saturday night.

Adlington quickly received support from many of her Great Britain team-mates.

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Former world 100m freestyle silver medallist Fran Halsall tweeted: “what a small insignificant life that person must lead”, echoed by former double Commonwealth champion Caitlin McClatchey, who wrote: “his parents must be so proud to have raised such a pathetic idiot! Well done for ur amazing 800 hun BOOM! Good luck today xx”

Olympic open water bronze medallist Cassie Patten addressed the perpetrator directly, saying: “It must be hard for you, you obviously have achieved nothing in your life, as you feel the need to Insult @BeckAdlington.”

It all follows the revelation by Adlington to a number of reporters that she has been subject to abuse on Twitter as well as negative comments online.

She had said: “I love the block button on Twitter.

“I don’t know how people expect to send a nasty comment and not get blocked.

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“With Twitter I think it’s one of those things if you like it like Liam (Tancock) who is on it every two minutes - ‘just having my lunch, just doing this’ - he loves it, he is like that in real life.

“Whereas I am on Twitter every now and again, I tweet here and there but not every day all the time.

“I think I will be going on every now and again but I won’t be checking it.

“I want to stay focused - obviously the messages of support are absolutely amazing and I love reading all of those but you have got the chance of somebody saying something just to annoy you and you don’t want that added stress.

“For myself, I think I’ll Tweet once it’s over.’’

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She added: “I used to (read articles) when it first happened but I am one of those people I then scroll down to the bottom and read the comments and I learned very quickly not to do that. Because it is awful and I get angry: even if there are 10 nice comments you always get one idiot.

“It makes you angry and frustrated. I’ve now given up because it upsets me or makes me angry.”