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Figure skating: the minimum age in senior competition will increase from 15 to 17 years old

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The minimum age to participate in senior figure skating competitions is set at 17, down from 15 previously. This measure follows a doping case at the Beijing Winter Olympics involving the Russian Kamila Valieva, 15 years old at the time of the events.

The International Skating Federation (ISU) on Tuesday raised the minimum age for figure skaters to 17 instead of the current 15 to participate in senior competitions. The decision, taken at the ISU Congress in Phuket, Thailand, comes months after a doping case at the Beijing Winter Olympics involving 15-year-old Russian Kamila Valieva.

“It’s a historic decision,” said federation president Jan Dijkema as the reform was endorsed by delegates from 100 countries. This change will apply in two phases. The minimum age will increase to 16 during the 2023-2024 season, then to 17 from 2024-2025.

The debate on the very young age of skaters – and especially skaters – resurfaced during the Beijing Olympics in the wake of the Valieva affair. Great favorite for the Olympic title at only 15 years old, the Russian had collapsed under the pressure and had cracked after finding herself at the center of a resounding doping affair.

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The ISU stressed that raising the age limit had been on its agenda long before the Valieva case and recognized that it was its duty to safeguard the health of young sportswomen.

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