Chinese Figure Skaters Investigated of Age

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The governing body in the Chinese republic for figure skating started an investigation on a number of Chinese athletes whose birth dates have been considered suspicious by international media members.

The Associated Press, a news agency based in the United States, reported on Tuesday that nine figure skaters from China allegedly had falsified birth dates in their records, which might have violated age limits for the competition.

This list included Zhang Dan and Zhanghao, silver medalists to the 2006, 2008, and 2009 Olympics, as well as reigning figure skating world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, and the male pairs skater named Gao Yu, women’s single skaters Xu Binshu and Geng Bingwa, and the Yu Xiaoyu, and Yang Jin pair.

Yang Dong, director of the figure skating department of China’s Winter Sports Administrative Center, admitted that they were aware of these reports and assured everyone that they would do everything necessary for a fair probe.

The AP report indicated that the birthdates of these nine athletes showed differences when their International skating Union biographies were studied on the website of the Chinese Skating Association.

The rules state that skaters had to be 15 years old by the July 1 preceding the event in order to compete at a senior world championship or an Olympic event, or 14 for other senior-level global competitions, which includes the Grand Prix Final. Also, junior skaters also have to be 13 years old by the preceding July 1 but must not be 19 years old for singles or 21 for the paired games and ice dancers. This is in order to protect the athletes from possible injuries.

The CSA website showed Zhang Dan’s birthdate as October 4, 1987, making her too young for the 2002 Winter Olympics; meanwhile, Zhang Hao’s record was shown to be on February 6, 1982, making him too old for the 2003 World Junior Championships.

Following a preliminary investigation, the CSA said the discrepancies may have come about due to errors that came about from poor record-keeping.

The agency confirmed that the ages of the Zhangs for the 2006 Olympic competition were accurate, and that the age details displayed on its website was incorrect.

The Xinhua News agency reported that the association strictly forbids athletes from falsifying age records, and other forms of cheating.

It added that the discrepancies were likely due to mistakes in registration.

Zhou Jing, director of the General State Administration of Sport of China news office, told the Global Times, “There is nothing wrong with their ages.”

Meanwhile, the association continues to investigate the ages of the other skaters included in the list.

In the 2006 Turin Olympic Games, China garnered 2-3-4 in figure skating when the Zhang pair was trailed by bronze medal winners Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue and then by fourth-placers Tong Jian and Pang Qing.

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