Figure skating to raise minimum competition age

STORY: The decision came after Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned substance while at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, when she was 15.

Valieva's case prompted questions over whether the minimum age for competitors in figure skating needed to be raised to protect minors.

The minimum age for skaters will be 16 years old for the 2023-24 season and increase to 17 from the 2024-25 season onwards, in time for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.

The proposal was passed by 100 votes to 16 with two abstentions at the congress in Phuket, Thailand, well clear of the two-thirds majority required.

"This is very important decision," ISU President Jan Dijkema said after cheers and applause from delegates greeted the result.

"I would say a very historic decision."

Valieva, who is now 16, had failed a doping test at the Russian national championships last December but the result was only revealed on Feb. 8, a day after she had helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) win the team event at the Beijing Games.

She was cleared to compete in the women's singles event in Beijing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but stumbled to fourth place with an error-laden free skate.

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