In their latest effort to curb age-fudging in Indian athletics, a new proposal was put forward at the annual general meeting of the Athletic Federation of India in which it will suspended the secretary of any state federation which has two or more athletes overage athletes in a year.
The proposal was the hot topic of the first day of the AGM which began in Agra on Friday. The final decision on the issue will be taken on Saturday with AFI president Adille Sumariwalla saying that it was high time they took this step.
“The state bodies have failed. They are complacent and AFI cannot go to districts to check the age of the athletes. The original entry is sent by the states, so they face the action,” Sumariwalla said.
With age-fudging and proxy participation still a big problem for India, it is a small step in the direction to bring these practices down. The AFI also decided that it will amend its constitution if this proposal is accepted on Saturday.
There was a debate over the proposal from the state units on how they can stop an athlete from competing when he or she has proper documents. But the AFI asked everyone to work towards verifying the age of the athletes and not just use the documents alone.
Last year, a total of 115 athletes were found to be over-aged in National Youth and Junior Championships combined. Uttar Pradesh was the worst offender with more than 30 over-aged athletes during last year.
AFI also put doping as a serious threat to the sports scene in India and Sumirawalla accepted that there was still a long way to go for AFI to stop it completely.
“We have done everything in our capacity. We can tell them to monitor the centres which are suspicious and we will send cops there. We are pushing for criminalising of doping as well.
“Our athletes are not doping, they are doing rubbish. We are doping like idiots. People outside have scientific methods,” AFI president said.
During the AGM, a few centres in Haryana were named by different state units as the hub of suspicious activities. The centres were Rohtak, Bhiwani and Sonipat.
On the issue of age-fudging, former World Championships bronze medallist Anju Bobby George said that it was a huge problem which needs to be addressed soon.
“Last year, I caught two brothers. One was in the army and was entered for the competition in the U20 national championships. He did not run but the older one did. I caught him while he in the stairs of the stadium,” she said.
“This is bad. There should be strict actions like banning the athletes and then, we can see some improvement.”
In another major decision on Friday, Chhattisgarh state association was suspended by AFI for poor organisation of youth national championships last year. This was its second such offence in three years after failing to conduct the racewalking championships in 2016.
An ad-hoc committee will be formed for Chhattisgarh which will oversee the proceedings until new elections.