The ban on rainbow flags was reported last week.

In an updated version of their rules, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) imposed a ban on triathletes from displaying the rainbow flag. The rules compared the flag to a piece of “propaganda” and said that triathletes that violated the ban could face disqualification.

The ruling didn’t go down well with triathlete, Jack Bristow who slammed the policy, saying: “This change of policy is a step backwards.

“I’ve flown a rainbow flag at a race before because I’m proud to be a gay athlete and I want to be a visible example so that other LGBT people feel like they can get involved.

“To have my pride equated with political extremism and to be told to go back in the closet for my own safety is insulting.”

Following the backlash, the ITU said that the policy was a “misunderstanding” and that the phrase would be removed.

In a statement, the ITU said: “The ITU has always stood for equality, inclusion and respect, and would never knowingly take such a decision that would infringe on the rights and freedoms of people to express themselves and banning the display of rainbow flags.

“In light of the misunderstanding, ITU will immediately revisit the rule to ensure that individuals’ rights of expression continue to be embraced.

“ITU regrets that this interpretation of the updated rules could have affected any person.

“It was never ITU’s intention that anyone could be hurt by this decision, one that was never intended to be taken against any group of individuals, no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation.”

The statement finished, by saying: “ITU is proud to be an organisation that is absolutely inclusive from its inception, and will continue to be so in the future.”