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More questions about age of Chinese gymnasts

August 3, 2008 |  8:02 am

Associated Press reports that birth data found online brings into question whether Yang Yilin, a Chinese gymnast who is considered a gold medal contender, is too young to compete in the Beijing Games.

If the birth information is correct, questions now exist as to whether three Chinese gymnasts -- half of the national team -- are too young to compete.

Yang, who competes in the all-around and uneven bars, was born Aug. 26, 1993, according to the 2004, 2005 and 2006 registration lists previously posted on the web site of the General Administration of Sports of China. That would make her 15th birthday later this month.

But the 2007 registration list has Yang's birthday as Aug. 26, 1992, which would make her old enough to compete.

Similar concerns have already been raised about the ages of He Kexin, a gold-medal favorite on uneven bars, and Jiang Yuyuan.

Chinese gymnastics officials did not immediately respond to AP's request for documentation of Yang's age and an explanation for the discrepancy.

International Gymnastics Federation secretary general Andrei Gueisbuhler said he couldn’t comment on the documents without seeing them.

IOC president Jacques Rogge on Saturday told AP that the age question was a FIG issue. “The IOC relies on the international federations, who are exclusively responsible for the eligibility of athletes,” Rogge said. “It’s not the task of the IOC to check every one of the 10,000 athletes.”

Here's what blogger Diane Pucin wrote about the age issue in The Los Angeles Times on July 28.

-- Greg Johnson