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Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 16:31 UK

China 'accept' decision to strip them of Olympic bronze

Yang Yun (left) and Dong Fangxiao
Dong Fangxiao (right) was 14-years-old when she won the bronze medal

China's gymnastics authorities say they are 'pained' by the decision to strip the women's team of their Olympic bronze medal from the Sydney Games.

Investigations found gymnast Dong Fangxiao was only 14 years old - two years too young - at the 2000 Games.

The Chinese Gymnastics Association said "We will learn a lesson and ... prevent a similar incident from happening."

In a statement the association said it agreed with the International Olympic Committee's decision.

The United States women's team will now take the bronze medal.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) carried out the investigation and subsequently recommended the IOC take the medal back.

The IOC executive board upheld the request and formally stripped the medal on the first day of a two-day meeting in Dubai.

Dong was also stripped of her sixth-place result in the individual floor exercises and seventh place in the vault.

Age falsification has been a problem in gymnastics since the 1980s, when the minimum age was raised from 14 to 15 to help protect still-developing athletes from serious injuries. The FIG raised the minimum age to its current 16 in 1997.

The International Gymnastics Federation had previously cleared five Chinese gymnasts suspected of being underage at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, after Chinese officials provided original passports, ID cards and family registers showing all of the gymnasts were old enough to compete.

But the FIG had said following that investigation it was not satisfied with "the explanations and evidence provided to date" for Dong and a second gymnast, Yang Yun from the 2000 Olympic team.

However, FIG investigators did not find sufficient evidence to prove Yang, who also won a bronze medal on uneven bars in 2000, was underage so she received only a warning.

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see also
Chinese gymnasts cleared over age
01 Oct 08 |  Gymnastics
Olympic probe into gymnasts' ages
22 Aug 08 |  Gymnastics
Gymnastics results
23 Aug 05 |  Gymnastics
Gymnastics on the BBC
05 Oct 11 |  Gymnastics
Get involved in gymnastics
23 Sep 10 |  Gymnastics

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