China underage probe expands

Published 3:35 am Thursday, September 25, 2008

China’s gold medal gymnasts aren’t the only ones whose ages are getting a closer look.

The investigation into the eligibility of the Chinese women’s team in Beijing has been expanded to include members of the 2000 squad, which won the bronze medal in Sydney, The Associated Press has learned.

International gymnastics officials are examining whether Yang Yun and Dong Fangxiao, in particular, were old enough to compete.

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‘‘If we had a look at all the articles that came before, during and after the games, there were always rumors about the ages of China’s athletes in Sydney,’’ Andre Gueisbuhler, secretary general of the International Gymnastics Federation, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

‘‘We did not have another choice,’’ he said. ‘‘If we want to remain credible, then we have to look into things.’’

No other Chinese teams are being investigated, Gueisbuhler said.

‘‘At this moment in time, we just have concerns about 2000 and 2008,’’ he said.

The investigation is ongoing, a month after the Beijing Games ended, and there is no timetable for when it will be finished.