Indian shuttlers found overage, to miss Asian Junior Championship
Five Indian players have been deemed ineligible for the U-15, U-17 Badminton Asia Junior Championships after they were found to be overage for the event. The defending U-17 National Badminton doubles champion Mithila UK is among the five players who are set to miss the event to be held in Indonesia from October 5-9.
M Meiraba (Manipur), Lakshya Sen (Uttarakhand), K Jagadish and Pavan Krishna (both Andhra Pradesh) are the others who have been banned from taking part in the championship. Karnataka girl, Mithula's regular partner Ashwini Bhat, although eligible, is also set to miss the meet.
As reported in the Times of India (TOI), Mithula's father Umakanth stated that he was in possession of the documents that proved that she was 16 years old. He said, "We were shocked when BAI told us on Friday that our daughter was over age."
However, he could not reason with the association and claimed that the family has been waiting for an age test at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi for three days.
"Their decision has been taken based on medical tests conducted in a government hospital in Lucknow in June to confirm her age ahead of the U-19 Asian championships. Mithula was cleared to play in that event but the association didn't give us any reports or tell us what methods of testing were employed at that time."
Federation president Akhilesh Das Gupta spoke about the issue and said, "As far as issues regarding age are concerned, BAI cannot and will not interfere with our medical board's findings."
Tests are being conducted on a regular basis before any major tournament as the Sports Authority of India looks to weed out the age frauds in the junior levels.
Das Gupta added, "However, BAI is always for the players. If there is a test conducted by an institution like AIIMS and any discrepancy is found we will take up the matter and ensure justice is done."
As reported in the TOI, a Karnataka Badminton Association source has slammed the national federation for the way it handled the issue. He said, "We are against age fraud but there has to be transparency in any procedure. If tests were conducted on these players in June and all records are available, why didn't the federation make these results public? Why were these kids called to the camp and dropped at the last minute?”
The source also stated that such instances have taken part in the past as well, "This has happened in the past with a few players seeking legal recourse subsequently to continue playing or have undertaken private medical tests to clear their names."