Ice skaters should be not less than 17 to participate in senior competitions after the game’s governing physique voted Tuesday to lift the minimal age from 15.
The choice by the Worldwide Skating Union (ISU) congress in Phuket, Thailand, got here months after a Beijing Winter Olympics medication scandal involving then-15-year-old Russian determine skater Kamila Valieva.
“It’s a really historic resolution,” ISU President Jan Dijkema mentioned after 100 nations voted to assist the measure, with solely 16 opposed.
Valieva failed a pre-Video games medication take a look at however was allowed to compete after which broke down after falling a number of occasions throughout her efficiency, with the worldwide highlight on her.
She completed exterior the medals with questions swirling in regards to the affect of her entourage following a tense and tearful post-routine encounter along with her coach.
The ISU mentioned that elevating the age restrict was on its agenda effectively earlier than the Valieva case and acknowledged it had an obligation of care to elite adolescent athletes.
The change might be phased in regularly over the approaching years, reaching age 17 within the 2024/25 season.
Forward of the vote ISU director-general Fredi Schmid acknowledged the physique had confronted media stress and a “main assault” within the wake of the Olympics and reminded delegates the game’s status was at stake.
“The second of reality is clearly in the present day as a result of the credibility of the ISU may even be scrutinised. The media and the general public will watch us very carefully so don’t overlook this,” he mentioned.
The skating physique’s medical recommendation backed elevating the age restrict to 17 arguing it will profit younger skaters bodily and mentally, and assist lengthen their careers.
“I really feel as directors of the game of skating it’s your ethical obligation and responsibility to offer these younger skaters with the chance and time to develop… the talents they require with the intention to achieve success on the senior degree,” Dr Jane Moran from the physique’s medical fee mentioned.
“They’ve the proper to develop themselves as folks throughout their adolescent age… They don’t want us to be forcing them to compete.”
A medical report mentioned the change would permit junior athletes time to succeed in skeletal maturity.
“The priority is that in a interval of recognized skeletal vulnerability, the adolescent athlete could also be uncovered to extreme coaching and competitors hundreds related to high-level competitors, which locations the athlete at higher threat of damage,” the medical report mentioned.
It additionally warned that some elite adolescent athletes might expertise a puberty delay for a median of two years because of the bodily calls for of coaching and insufficient power consumption.
It famous some have been at higher threat of creating consuming issues.
The athletes’ fee surveyed near 1,000 athletes and coaches and 86 per cent have been in favour of lifting the age restrict.
Some representatives from smaller nations argued the adjustments would have a detrimental affect on their expertise pool of skaters and skill to ship athletes to elite competitions.
However different smaller skating nations corresponding to Iceland and Eire argued the main target must be on defending kids.
“We’ve got to recollect they’re youngsters first and athletes second,” Eire’s consultant in Phuket mentioned.
An modification to lift the minimal age to 16 after which wait till after the 2026 Winter Olympics to revisit the problem was rejected.
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