Ninety-one athletes have been found to be overage in based on physical tests conducted prior to the Junior National Athletics Championships to be held at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in Guwahati. Age verification is one of the core pre requisites for athletes to take part in sporting events in and around India and after screening, the organizers found certain discrepancies in the verification processes of the athletes.
Among the individuals who have undergone these tests, 83 have been seen as doubtful and will have to further undergo laboratory tests to finally determine whether they are underage and eligible to compete. The subsequent screening will continue over the weekend in order to finally determine who gets to take part. As of now, seven individuals have been found as definitely overage while one athlete turned up without any documents.
The TOI quoted an anonymous official from the competition saying “the athletes will not be debarred straight away from the competition as that could be challenged in a court of law. Therefore, they will be subject to a lab test before suspension, if required.”
The National Junior Athletics Competition is usually divided into 4 categories with competitors taking part in Under 20, Under 18, Under 16 and Under 12 categories. Certain athletes always try to get by the system through fake age certificates, altered medical records and other forms of manipulation that would give them an upper hand in their competition. This is not the first and last time that something has happened as age faking is a perennial problem throughout most Indian sporting events. 70 athletes in the 2018 edition of the National Games were found to be faking their age and were subsequently debarred from competing while a similar event took place in the 2019 edition of the Athletics Districts Meet.