Africa athletics body worried over age cheating before Youth Games
Updated: 2014-07-23 17:13
NAIROBI - Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) is concerned with the tendencies by local athletics federations to enter over aged competitors in its meetings ahead of the Youth Olympics, which will be held in Nanjing, China in August.
CAA President Colonel Hamad Kalkaba Malboum said in a statement on Monday that it beats the logic of organizing age-based competitions for younger athletes when some are keen to go around it and enter senior competitors.
"It was discouraging, during the Africa Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana that some athletes were older than their registered age. CAA is ready to fight against age cheating which was noticed during the Africa Youth Games," said Kalkaba.
The matter came up again in the latest Africa Youth Games which took place in the capital of Botswana, where 52 African countries were involved in 21 sports.
Competitions in the Africa Youth Games were used for qualifiers for the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Nanjing, China in August.
"Personally, I looked at some athletes and I saw that it was not their real age," said the CAA President, adding that "we need to sensitize around the athletes. A child cannot change his age by himself. This is the role of each one of us, not of an association only. "
President Kalkaba Malboum said efforts to establish a reliable database to check the age of the athletes were at an advanced status, while the penalty for those who are caught should be introduced.
Concerns on over age athletes - including Kenya and Ethiopia, the two giants in the discipline from the continent - threatened to tarnish the second edition of the Africa Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana.
Athletics events were rocked with undertones all over the stands as officials, administrators and spectators questioned the age of the runners.
Kenya won majority of its medals on the track and field events and will be looked at skeptically during the Youth Olympics in Nanjing.
The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) used the Gaborone games as the qualifier for the Youth Olympics.
Malboum admitted that it was clear that some of the athletes he had seen at the village and across the venues "were too old" for the event, which is eligible to athletes aged 17 years and below.
"Personally I have observed that the athletes in the village and across the events are too old. We need 17, but we can easily recognize the ones who are above these some even in 20s," said Kalkaba.
He however acknowledged it was a fight that the games organizers ANOCA or the respective federations cannot win alone as the documents provided by the team managers and head of delegations showed the athletes were within the required age.
"It is only the national Olympic committees and the governments which can stop this. We as administrators are keen on rooting out this overage players and punishing them and the whole the entourage who are responsible, the managers, coaches and officials and publicize these to discourage others wanting to field overage players," he said.