Several top junior athletes were among the 41 who failed age-verification test at the 16th National Youth Athletics Championships in Raipur. Notable among them was Delhi sprinter Nisar Ahmed, a multiple gold medallist at the Khelo India games. Jharkhand’s Aditya Prakash (110m hurdles, 400m), Rajasthan’s Ashish Poonia (hammer throw), Uttar Pradesh’s Wasim Tomar (800m) and his statemate Lavish Kumar (200m, 400m) were others who suffered the same fate.
The tournament website had ‘DQ (Disqualified) overage’ against the name of Nisar and others on the result list. The championship had attracted the country’s best young talent since it happens to be selection trial for next month’s Asian Youth Championships at Hong Kong.
Divesh Bhal, member of AFI’s competition committee, said: “The Athletics Federation of India identifies doping and age fraud as two of the biggest ills in the sport. The age verification medical tests conducted at youth championships in Raipur is an important step in cleaning up the sport. Such steps will also deter coaches from pushing teenage athletes to fudge their age.”
The drive to weed out age cheats, was supervised by chairman of the medical committee of the Athletics Federation of India, Dr Arun Mendiratta. In November, a large number of teenage athletes were found to be overage at the 34th Junior National Athletics Championships which were held at Ranchi.
Athletes who were suspected to be overage, based on physical traits and exceptional performance, were asked to undergo medical tests at the time of registration on Monday. To determine their bone age, the administrators went by the athletes’ radiology reports.
Last year, AFI president Adille Sumariwala had said that if there was proof of manipulation of age then the guilty athletes could be banned.
A decision on possible sanctions against those who fudged their age will be taken at AFI’s age-verfication meeting in New Delhi later this month.