The ongoing Yonex-Sunrise All India Sub Junior U13 Ranking Badminton Tournament 2022 in Hyderabad has been a talking point in the sports community for all the wrong reasons.
It is claimed that almost fifty per cent of all participants are overage, which ridicules the national-level U-13 badminton tournament, which is played at the sprawling Chetan Anand Sports Centre.
The Telangana Badminton Association organizes the tournament under the auspices of the Badminton Association of India.
626 players from across the country took part in four events at the first U-13 All India Badminton Tournament after a break of almost three years. There are a total of 789 entries, of which a maximum of 384 are in the U-13 boys’ singles.
The week-long tournament, which began on June 19, will feature U-13 boys and U-13 girls singles and U-13 boys and U-13 girls doubles categories.
The qualifying rounds were played from June 19-21, while the main draw started on Wednesday. Only players born on or after January 1st, 2010 may participate in the tournament.
Half of the players are older than 12 years, says senior badminton national coach
A senior coach has claimed that half of all participants are overage and should not be in the tournament. He said that all overaged players kill the players who are playing their real age.
A senior coach, who asked not to be named, said:
“Because the deadline is January 1, 2010, only players over the age of 11 or who have just turned 12 can participate in the tournament. However, I found that almost half of the participants are over 12 years old. I am sure that more than 200 players are 13 or 14 years old and some of them look older than 15. You can tell who is aging and who is not just by looking at their physique and face.”
The senior coach, who is respected in the national badminton community, has been watching the action at the Chetan Anand Badminton Center since the first day of competition.
The Senior Coach said:
“I am very disappointed in the way these greedy parents and aspiring coaches are creating fraudulent age certificates with court affidavits to prove they belong in the U-13 age category. It will bring you results now, but in the long run it will hurt you. In doing so, however, they spoil the careers of so many young children who play with their original birth certificates. In this U-13 age group, a small physical advantage goes a long way.”
Several angry parents approached the main referee but to no avail. The parents formed a group and asked the organizers about the aging players. However, they could not get any satisfactory answers from the organizers.
A group of parents are appealing to the Badminton Association of India to take strong action against the scammers
Some parents wanted to lodge an official protest with the organizers but were unable to do so as they did not want to be on the authorities’ bad books.
One offended parent said on condition of anonymity:
“There is no doubt that these aging players are destroying the careers of so many real children by cheating their real ages. BAI should take immediate action to contain this threat. Bone testing should be mandatory for every player before the start of the season, just as the BCCI does for all cricketers in their national age group. It will certainly control this scam to some extent.”
Most parents do not want to be on record because they fear actions by the BAI that could affect the future of their wards. However, they all want the BAI to take urgent and necessary steps to save their children’s careers.
Another parent said:
“Strict measures should be taken to allow these overaged players to play in their regular age group categories. FIR for Section 420 fraud and banning of the guilty players should be immediate. Your further participation should be suspended immediately and previous results should also be corrected at state and federal level. The BAI should send a circular to its affiliated state entities about the strict measures taken against the scammers.”
The Hyderabad tournament ends on June 25th. The next All India U-13 Ranking Tournament will be held in Mohali from 28 June to 4 July. The parents hope that the BAI will take appropriate action against the cheaters before the start of the next tournament.