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Chinese gymnasts: Age OK, says FIG

August 8, 2008 | 10:40 pm

Younggymnasts_300BEIJING -- FIG, the governing body for international gymnastics, has issued a statement affirming its belief that all the competitors on the Chinese gymnastics team are age-eligible for the Olympics.

According to FIG: "The FIG has received confirmation from the International Olympic Committee that all passports are valid for all gymnasts competing in the Beijing Olympic Games. Stringent control measures are taken at the time of the athlete accreditation for all official FIG competitions. Further, all athlete ages for the Beijing Olympic Games are consistent with the FIG records for all past FIG competitions. The accepted proof of a gymnast's eligibility for competition is a valid passport issued by the country of residence."

So those pesky provincial registration forms that listed birth dates that would make three Chinese women -- He Kexin, Yang Yilin and Jiang Yuyuan -- too young for the Games and the numerous stories in Chinese-language newspapers last year that listed He as 13 until she began posting high scores on uneven bars are of no importance to the FIG.

It is perhaps time to rethink the age requirement, which was instituted supposedly to keep young athletes from training too hard at an age when their bones are still developing.

   -- Diane Pucin

Photo: Jiang Yuyuan of China performs her routine for the floor exercise during a practice session for the Beijing Games. Credit: Lluis Gene /AFP /Getty Images.


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