Mar 07 All gymnasts are age-eligible

Aug. 09, 2008, 1:09 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) The International Olympic Committee checked the passports of all the gymnasts competing in Beijing and they're valid, international gymnastics officials said Saturday.

There have been persistent questions about the ages of half of China's women's gymnastics team, expected to battle the United States for the gold medal.

Some documents and media reports have shown He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan and Yang Yilin are as young as 14; the minimum age set by the FIG is 16 at any time during the year of the games.

Records for gymnasts competing here are also consistent with those from previous international gymnastics competitions, the International Gymnastics Federation said in a statement.

Yang Yilin is a medal contender in the all-around and uneven bars, and He is China's best on bars. The women's competition begins Sunday.

But Chinese officials have insisted the girls are all of eligible age, and have given FIG and IOC officials passports to back that up. A passport is the "accepted proof of a gymnast's eligibility for competition," the FIG said Saturday.

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