North Korean gymnast banned for age cheating

September 17, 2014
Cha Yong Hwa (AP)

Cha Yong Hwa in 2006. (AP)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A North Korean female gymnast on Wednesday was banned and stripped of all her results since 2006 in a case of age cheating.

The International Gymnastics Federation said the North Korean team “is blamed for submitting a fake passport for Cha Yong Hwa.”

It’s the third time FIG has punished North Korea for falsifying ages. Gymnasts must be 16 at major events.

FIG withdrew Cha’s license and banned her from all international competition through 2015, and annulled her results dating back to August 2006. It did not specify her actual age.

Cha competed in the uneven bars and vault at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She placed 12th in qualifying in uneven bars and did not qualify for the final. Cha’s teammate, Hong Un-Jong, won gold in the vault.

At the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, Cha won a silver medal in the team event and bronze in uneven bars.

FIG said the North Korea team must return medals and prize money within 60 days.

The North Korean gymnastics federation was also fined 25,000 Swiss francs ($26,750).

The sanctions can be appealed within 21 days.

FIG previously barred North Korea from the 2012 London Olympics and 1993 World Championships.