The International Gymnastics Federation has rejected North Korea's appeal of its 30-day competition ban, confirming the nation's gymnasts cannot compete at the world championships in Rotterdam.
Olympic vault champion Hong Un Jong will be unable to compete in Rotterdam after the FIG rejected the North Korean's appeal.
"The arguments and explanations provided [by the North Korean gymnastics federation] do not justify a reconsideration of the provisional decision made by the President of the FIG Disciplinary Commission," the FIG stated.
On Sept. 30, IG reported that North Korean gymnast Hong Su Jong had been registered with three different birth dates, including one that would have made her ineligible for the 2004 Olympic Games. After appearing with birth dates of March 9, 1985 and March 9, 1986, Hong was registered for the 2010 Worlds with a birthdate of March 9, 1989. Hong was a member of the 12th-place North Korean team at the 2004 Olympics, which was open to gymnasts born in 1988 and earlier.
The latest birth date for Hong Su Jong confirms the long-held suspicion that she and her sister are twins. Hong Un Jong, the 2008 Olympic champion on vault, has always been registered with a birth date of March 9, 1989.
On Oct. 6, the FIG's Disciplinary Commission handed down the provisional suspension to the North Korean gymnastics federation, banning the gymnasts from competing in any international or even national event.
The North Korean federation filed an appeal, in order to allow its gymnasts to compete at the world championships, which begin Saturday. The appeal was rejected.
The Hong case is the second disciplinary action the FIG has taken against North Korea. In 1993, the North Korean women were unable to compete at the world championships because world champion Kim Gwang Suk had been registered as being 15 years old for three consecutive years.
The FIG went one step further for the Hong Su Jong case, banning the North Korean men as well. North Korean vaulter Ri Se Gwang — the only gymnast performing two vaults worth the maximum 7.2 in difficulty — will be unable to challenge for a medal in Rotterdam.
The FIG may take further action against the North Koreans, suspending them for a longer period of time. The federation also could strip Hong Su Jong of her silver medal on vault at the 2007 World Championships, even though she was age eligible at the time. The FIG stated it was investigating North Korea not just for age falsification, but also for "false registrations." If Hong Su Jong's year of birth is confirmed to be 1989, it would mean she was registered using a falsified passport in Stuttgart, where her year of birth was listed as 1986.
"The FIG Disciplinary Commission will meet in the near future and will invite the parties to a hearing, before finalizing and delivering its conclusions to the FIG Presidential Commission," the FIG stated.