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  • FIG Clears Chinese Gymnasts in Beijing, But Not Sydney


    The members of China’s gold medal squad in the team gymnastics event were found to be of legal age to compete in the Beijing Olympics. (FIG)
    An investigation by the international federation says the two gymnasts were old enough to participate. FIG rules require competitors be at least 16 for the Olympics.

    But FIG is keeping open a file on whether two Chinese gymnasts from Sydney may have skirted the age rule in 2000.

    The issue of the ages of the Chinese gymnasts arose prior to the Beijing Olympic with some accusations that female team members were as young as 14. China won the gold medal with the questionable gymnasts in the team event.

    “Originals of official documents received from the Chinese Gymnastics Association, specifically passports, identity cards and family booklets or ‘Household Registers’, confirm the ages of the athletes” FIG said in a statement.

    “The FIG has shared its conclusions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which originally requested the inquiry. It is considered that the case is now concluded,” says the FIG statement.

    But the Sydney suspicions have not been confirmed.

    FIG says evidence presented about the ages
    Dong Fangxiao said she was of the proper age for the Sydney Olympics and that she will cooperate with any FIG investigation. (Getty Images)
    of Dong Fangxiao and Yang Yun was not deemed to be “satisfactory”. Dong and Yang won bronze in the Sydney team event.

    The FIG requirement was put into place over concerns about the stress of gymnastics on young bodies.

    FIG says all gymnasts must turn 16 during an Olympic year to be eligible to compete in the Games.

    FIG general secretary Andre Gueisbuhler confirmed an investigation into the two gymnasts from Sydney will still take place.

    "It will probably still take a while before we can unravel all the legal matters.

    "We have the (statute of limitations), and you have applicable law is also a factor. If we want to remain credible, then we have to look into things."

    Last week, Dong said she is innocent.

    "I've left the gymnastics team. But if the FIG wants to investigate this matter, I will provide every form of documentation" she said.

    Written by Ed Hula III

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