The Indian government is planning to introduce a new mechanism to spot and stop age fraud in sports.
Sports secretary Ajit Sharan said here on Monday the government plans to come out with a software which will provide each athlete, registered under the National Sports Federation (NSF) at a young age, a unique identification so that he/she will not be able to change his/her details later on.
“Age fraud has been going on for quite some time. All NSFs were advised to create some kind of a database or software when an athlete is around 12 or so; when he or she is less likely to commit an age fraud,” said Sharan.
“Since the NSFs did not follow, we thought of coming out with a generic software which can document details of athletes, including age, and provide them some kind of unique IDs which they will be able to carry throughout their career.”
Age fraud is quite common, especially at the junior level, in Indian sports. It is done so that an older child can perform better than a younger one in a certain age category competition.
“Once the IDs are registered at a young age, it will be difficult to commit the fraud. Kids at the young age of 12 do not commit age frauds. This is usually done when the child progresses from the junior to senior level,” said Sharan while launching School Sports Promotion Foundation’s (SSPF) National Talent Search Nurture programme.
“There are some federations who followed our advice like squash and taekwondo but most did not. We have not set any time limit but may be it will be ready in another three months or so.”
Sports Authority of India (SAI) director general Injeti Srinivas said that the problem should be arrested at once.
“Coaches, parents; everyone is involved in this. If our coaches are involved then they bring shame to the country. It is a serious matter but the important question is how to arrest it. Accountability is important,” said Srinivas.