MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. The International Skating Union (ISU) voted at its Congress on Tuesday to up the minimum age required for figure skaters to enter senior competitions to 17 starting with the 2024/2025 season as well as to extend the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes from taking part in international competitions until further notice.
The minimum required age to enter figure skating senior competitions, which include World Championships and the Olympic Games, currently stands at 15 and will remain unchanged for the next season as well.
"For the Season 2022/23, in International Senior Competitions, ISU Senior Championships and the Olympic Winter Games, only Skaters may compete who have reached at least the age of fifteen before July 1 preceding the Events," the ISU statement reads.
"For the Season 2023/24, in International Senior Competitions, ISU Senior Championships and the Olympic Winter Games, only Skaters may compete who have reached at least the age of sixteen before July 1 preceding the Events."
"From the Season 2024/25 onwards, in International Senior Competitions, ISU Senior Championships and the Olympic Winter Games, only Skaters may compete who have reached at least the age of seventeen before July 1 preceding the Events," the statement revealed.
An initiative to raise the age entry requirements was supported during the voting at the Congress by 100 members of the ISU, while 16 voted against.
The same age limit regulations will now be applied for senior competitions in speed skating and short track speed skating.
The ISU said in its statement that: "Each ISU Member must ensure that Skaters entered for Senior and Junior International Competitions, ISU Championships and Olympic Winter Games fulfill the requirements of the Rules. In case of violation, the ISU Member concerned may lose the right to send Skaters the following season to all Senior and Junior (as the case may be) ISU Championships and International Competitions."
Reached by a TASS correspondent, world’s legendary figure skating coach Tatiana Tarasova said commenting on the new regulations: "They have upped the age and let it be."
"However, we [Russian figure skaters] will continue winning and I see nothing negative about it," she continued. "However, I see no positive sides as well. It’s just another set of new regulations."
The 58th ISU Ordinary Congress is taking place in Phuket, Thailand, between June 6 and 10, 2022. According to the ISU, "In 2022 almost 250 proposals will be discussed and voted by the Congress. Additionally, elections for ISU Office Holders positions will take place."
ISU extends suspension of Russia, Belarus
ISU Director General Fredi Schmid announced earlier in the day the federation also decided at its Congress to extend the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions until further notice.
According to the official, the ban on the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in ISU competitions would remain in force until the ISU Council or Congress made a decision to overturn it.
Commenting on the decision, Tarasova told TASS that the ISU still did not come with an answer why Russian athletes had been barred from international competitions.
"Our athletes were left once again without an answer to the question - Why? - and I personally still did not hear an answer to it as well," she stated.
"We [Russia] already suffered in the past from such top-class ‘tips and tricks’ policies, but I long to hear an answer right now - for what reason they were barred this time?" Tarasova told TASS.
On March 1, the International Skating Union announced a decision to provisionally suspend all athletes from Russia and Belarus. The suspension was enforced in regard to figure skating, speed skating and short-track speed skating competitions. Russia was scheduled to host 2022 ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix on November 25-27.
In late April, the Council of the International Skating Union (ISU) canceled Russia’s stage of the 2022/2023 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.
The ISU also confirmed in its statement at the time that "Until further notice no Skaters belonging to the ISU Members in Russia (Russian Skating Union and the Figure Skating Federation of Russia) and Belarus (Skating Union of Belarus) shall be invited or allowed to participate in International Competitions, including ISU Championships and other ISU Events."
On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments referring to a special military operation in Ukraine.
Following the IOC recommendations in late February, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.