China accepts punishment after IOC strips 2000 medal

09:05, April 30, 2010      

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The Chinese gymnastics authority has agreed to give back the bronze medal the women's team won at the Sydney Olympic Games after it was stripped on Wednesday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for having an under-age representative, Dong Fangxiao.

Luo Chaoyi, the sport's chief in China, told local media on Thursday he learnt of the news on the IOC's website and hadn't received official notice but he would respect the decision.

The medal will be given to the fourth-placed US team.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) nullified Dong's Sydney results in February claiming her birth date, registered at the Beijing Olympics, where she worked as a national technical official, was Jan 23, 1986, which would have made her 14 in Sydney - younger than the age limit of 16. Her birth date in the FIG database is listed as Jan 20, 1983.

Because Dong's scores contributed to China winning the team bronze, the FIG recommended the IOC take back the medal.

Chinese officials claim they didn't doctor Dong's age at the Sydney Games. They say it was Dong and her family who changed her birth date to be three years' younger after her retirement.

The IOC executive board, however, upheld the request and formally stripped the medal on the first day of a two-day meeting in Dubai. The IOC said Dong was also stripped of her sixth-place result in the individual floor exercise and seventh place in the vault.

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