BAI outlines shift in approach to age-fraud issue

Amidst growing complaints of age fraud in Indian badminton, the Badminton Association of India President Himanta Biswa Sarma has outlined a shift in the approach towards dealing with the issue.

Badminton Association of India President Himanta Biswa Sarma has outlined a shift in the approach towards dealing with the issue.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Amidst growing complaints of age fraud in Indian badminton, the Badminton Association of India President Himanta Biswa Sarma has outlined a shift in the approach towards dealing with the issue.

Medical tests to ascertain the actual age will now be conducted on the players at the beginning of the season, he announced on Friday at the Karnataka Badminton Association. Sarma was in the city for a send-off ceremony for the Indian junior team ahead of its Asian and World championships campaigns.

“We want to erase this over-age issue by conducting the tests well before the season so that no one should under-go the mental trauma during a tournament or a camp,” said Sarma. “If a player is found overage, we will put him or her in the next category as we think the parents are the culprits rather than the players themselves.”

READ: BAI chief: 'Gopichand Academy will be Indian badminton's epicentre'

The most recent case was that of Akash Yadav, who is part of the U-17 squad for the Asian Championship. Akash was named in a CBI report for allegedly altering age records. According to the BAI, the player was picked because the selection committee wasn't aware of the report.

When the BAI subsequently moved to release him from the preparatory camp here, Akash obtained a stay from the Delhi High Court, which cleared his way for participation.

It was also announced that the BAI, starting next year, will offer 20 junior players scholarships of up to ₹ 50,000 per month. The number may swell to 100 with help from the corporate sector.

“Most of the times, good talented players drop out of the game due to financial constraints. Hence to support such players, we will be providing scholarships,” Sarma said.

Four two-month long summer camps will be conducted in different parts of the country for talented players who have otherwise missed out on opportunities owing to various factors.

“Every state association will nominate five players each. National and International coaches will assist the trainees,” Sarma said.

A PTI report states that BAI has decided that all players ranked in top 50 in the BWF World Rankings will get direct entry into quarterfinals of the upcoming National Championship, which for the first time will be Rs. 1 crore prize money event. This will effectively mean that country’s top shuttlers like World Championship silver medallist PV Sindhu (world No 2), bronze medallist Saina Nehwal (world No 12) will only be seen in action from the last eight stage. Ditto for the likes of Kidambi Srikanth (No 8), HS Prannoy (no 15), B Sai Praneeth (No 17), Sameer Verma (No 19) and Ajay Jayaram (No 20) in the men’s section.

Indian team for Asian Junior Championship:

Boys U-17: Meirab Maisram, Dhruv Rawat, Iman Sonowal, Akash Yadav, Amit Rathore, Sathish Kumar, Edwin Joy, Arvind V.Suresh, Vishnuvardhan Goud, Ishan Bhatnagar, Khush Chug.

U-15: Sidhant Gupta, Ayush Raj Gupta, Punshiba Yengkhom, Jayant Rana, Varun Kapur, Vikas Yadav, Arshad Shaik, Shubham Patel, Sanjeev Rao, Khajamoinuddin Shaik.

Girls U-17: Gayatri Gopichand, Akarshi Kashyap, Unnati Bisht, Malvika Bansode, Ritika Thakkar, Samiya Imad Farooqui, V.S. Varshini, Sahiti Suresh, Kavi Priya, Keyura Mopati.

U-15: Sneha Rajwan, Ashi Rawat, Kriti Bhardwaj, Treesa Jolly, Reza Mehreen, Tanya Hemant, Aditi Bhatt.