Badminton: Age fraud in focus at All India Sub-Junior Ranking Tournament

The Age Fraud Committee of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has written to the leadership of the National Sports Federation (NSF), intimating them about purported cases of age fraud being committed at the All India Sub-Junior (Under-13) Ranking Tournament being held from June 28 to July 4 in Mohali.

A member of the Age Fraud Committee wrote the letter, also accessed by Hindustan Times, to the BAI president, secretary general, chairman and convenor of the panel and organising secretary and tournament referee of the week-long event that close to 22 percent of the players are being allowed to participate by producing a medical certificate. Producing the certificate implies that the players have not produced birth certificates registered within a year of their birth.

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“As age fudging cases are rampant, there is prima facie reason to believe that many of these cases could be age fudging cases which calls for further detailed investigation,” said the letter. “The BAI is requested to take urgent action in this matter as participation of overage players gives rise to frustration among honest players and parents leading to disillusionment with the entire system, besides giving negative image to BAI.”

Of the 396 players under scrutiny, 43 out of the 232 male players and 21 out of the 164 females are participating with medical certificates.

“As an immediate measure, referee may kindly be informed to take necessary action in the matter such as demanding additional documents, birth certificates, first standard school records, undertaking etc. from such players/parents,” said the letter.

However, a top BAI official said on condition of anonymity that these players can still participate under protest until the committee proves that they are committing a fraud.

Keeping a check on age fraud is important as overage players are physically stronger which works to their advantage. Even a year’s overage can make a massive difference, disadvantaging honest players.

“BAI is working on the issue. Age fraud is something that cannot be changed overnight. It takes time,” said BAI secretary general Sanjay Mishra.