the International Skating Union (ISU) announced on Tuesday that it will gradually increase the minimum age for senior competitions from 15 to 17.
The decision, taken after a vote at the 58th Congress in Phuket, comes after Russian skater Kamila Valieva, then 15, was embroiled in a doping scandal at the 2022 Beijing Olympics in February, which overshadowed the Games.
In a statement released on Twitterthe world governing body said: “The ISU Congress voted in favor of gradually increasing the age limit from 15 to 17 years for the sake of protecting the physical and mental health, and emotional well-being of skaters.
“There will be no change for the season 2022/23, an increase to 16 years for the season 2023/24 and an increase to 17 years for the season 2024/25 and subsequent seasons.”
Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned heart medication, which can help endurance.
Even though the test was taken in December 2021, it was only analyzed and reported to Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in February, resulting in Valieva’s provisional suspension — a day after she helped propel the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to a gold medal finish in the figure skating team event.
But the skater was reinstated after an appeal and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) allowed her to compete in the Olympics, citing specific provisions related to her protected status as a minor.
Valieva went on to compete in the individual figure skating event, where she fell multiple times and left the ice in tears, finishing in fourth place.
Global Athlete, a group that works for change in the sporting world, has previously called for “immediate reform” to anti-doping systems.
“Doping and the trauma of a positive test pose grave physical and psychological risks to all athletes but especially to minors. It is unacceptable that these risks have been placed on a 15-year-old,” the athlete-led group said in a statement during the February Games.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said it will be investigating Valieva’s entourage — the adults responsible for her skating and welfare.
CNN has reached out to WADA for comment.