sharing the Olympic spirit

Age limits for gymnasts may be set after 2008
Updated: 2007-12-04 11:19


BEIJING, December 3 -- The world gymnastics governing body, FIG, is pondering to set up an age limit of 16 for gymnasts competing in international matches after the Beijing Olympic Games.

The president of FIG Bruno Grandi revealed the thought of adopting new age regulation after Beijing Games on Monday at the sideline of the ongoing gymnastics Olympic test event, the "Good Luck Beijing" Gymnastics International Invitational.

"Sports like gymnastics should not be there for kids," said Grandi. "Gymnasts should only be allowed to compete in international stage when they are mature physically and mentally."

"It's likely to have an age limit of no less than 16 for gymnasts to attend international competitions after 2008," added the Italian.

If new age code is applied, the gymnasts lower than 16 won't be allowed in international arena like Olympic Games, world championships and World Cup series.

U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson, the triple world champion at 2007 Stuttgart gymnastics worlds, and China's Jiang Yuyuan, the women's team silver medallist, all came to compete in the age of 15 at the Stuttgart worlds.

Jiang is also the all-around titlist at the Olympic test event.

Grandi is striving for fundamental reforms in FIG. He is a strong proponent to implement new rules on scoring after the Athens Games. Under the new scoring rules, the "perfect ten points ceiling " is broken down, which encourages the routine difficulty to progress all along.

"One of the essences in sports is to challenge the utmost, so it's the same in gymnastics," said Grandi.

"Gymnastics should not be framed by 'a set mark '. The new scoring code is a way of encouraging athletes to challenge their courage and high-point.

"The increase of routine difficulty is a trend inevitable. This trend won't change after the Beijing Olympics, but gymnastics is not acrobatics and keeps the traits of art and beauty in additional to competition," commented Grandi, adding FIG won't neglect the attraction of expressive force in the sport on its pursuit of difficulty.

Grandi spilt high appraisal to the venue and organizing job in the test event, but urged closer cooperation between working staff.

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