Junior badminton players participating in state and national level tournaments will have to produce birth certificates registered within 12 months of their date of birth, if not already done, or undergo medical tests if they want to continue playing in the age group events.
The Badminton Association of India has already written to the state associations earlier this month that the new players who would apply for a player ID starting this season to play national level age-group (u 13/15/17/19) tournaments will have to produce the birth certificates in the above format or undergo a prescribed age verification test.
The national selection committee that met in Bangalore on Saturday to pick the senior and junior teams for the forthcoming tournaments deliberated further on the issue and has suggested that some of these measures should be applied to those already playing on the circuit.
As a first step, they decided to not consider four top-ranked players who are under the scanner for reported discrepancies in their age proofs for next month’s Asian Junior Championship.
“The age fraud issue has become a big problem in sports in India. The Sports Ministry has already been raising this issue with the National Federations and we felt that it was important to take firm steps to curb the menace. We also discussed the models adopted by other federations and will work on a system to address these frauds and also the grievances of genuine players,” said BAI president Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also the chairman of the selection committee.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has made the TW3 test mandatory for all u-16 cricketers registered by state association and those who fail the test are not allowed to play in that age group irrespective of their documentary evidence.
The All India Chess Federation on the other hand had kept a two-day window in which all existing age group players, who do not have their birth certificates registered within 12 months of their berth, had to undergo a prescribed age verification test in February at their own cost, failing which they can only participate in senior tournaments.
A look at the BAI records show that the birth certificates submitted by many junior players were registered only a few years before they started playing on the state or national circuit. In the past, BAI had conducted medical tests on top-ranked players in the national championships. But former international Uday Pawar, who is also part of the new selection committee, has been insisting on the need to conduct these tests at the start of the season rather than the fag end when the national championship are held.
The sports ministry has already made it mandatory for all junior teams going for Asian and World championships to undergo medical tests and the BAI was forced to withdraw over 10 players in the last two years from these competitions at the last minute.
The Sports Integrity Unit of the Central Bureau of Investigation had also submitted report to the Sports Ministry over the issue and the ministry has asked BAI to submit a detailed report of the documents submitted by players named in the report and the performance record.
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