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Russia's Aliya Mustafina Doesn't See The Point Of Discussing The Minimum Age Limit In Gymnastics

  Following a wave of abuse allegations that hit the sport of gymnastics, the topic of increasing the minimum age for senior international c...

 



Following a wave of abuse allegations that hit the sport of gymnastics, the topic of increasing the minimum age for senior international competition was raised.

As per the current FIG rules, gymnasts must be at least 16 years of age, or turning 16 within the calendar year, to compete in senior competitions.

Athletes, including former Olympians such as Hannah Wehlan and Lisa Mason of Great Britain, called for the sport to increase minimum age requirements for female participants.

However, repeat Olympic bars champion Aliya Mustafina seems to disagree with these calls.

"For some reason, people who talk about it, or, rather, who come up with some scary tales, are those who never experiences such training loads," Mustafina said in an interview with mk.ru translated by gymnovosti. "But there’s time for everything. If you don’t experience these training loads at 15, they can break you down after  puberty. Because the younger you are, the easier everything is. "

"And when you’re going through those loads in the mild form, all these achievements continue further. All the elements need to be learned at a young age."

"Because it will be much harder to do at 20 years old. And the training load has to be correct. Then, if there are no mistakes, there won’t be injuries either. I saw this very well from the point of view of a coach already."

Mustafina stated that there will always be young girls competing in sports that require complex body coordination – gymnastics, both artistic and rhythmic, diving, acrobatic gymnastics.

"I don’t see the point of discussing the age limit," added the Russian former gymnast.

The first FIG minimum age rule was requiring gymnasts to be 14 to compete internationally, which was in 1971. Ten years later, it was raised to 15 years old.

In 1997, the age limit was increased from 15 to 16. 

Up until 2007, gymnasts - who were to turn 16 in the Olympic year - were allowed to compete at the pre Olympic World championships.

A notable example is US Shawn Johnson, who competed at the 2007 World championships at the age of 15 years old. 

Mustafina turned senior in 2010. Her last competition was in 2019 at the age of 24 years old.

Written by Gigi Farid 


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