Protesting parents stop play in junior ranking badminton tourney

Angry over the participation of overage players, parents of several shuttlers protested on court, leading to the suspension and postponement of several matches of the ongoing All India Sub-Junior (Under-13) Ranking Tournament here on Friday. The parents started protesting at the Shivalik Public School courts on arrival of Bamag Tago, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) observer.

On Tuesday, HT had reported that the Age Fraud Committee of BAI had written to its leadership, intimating them about purported age fraud cases. The letter, in possession of HT, said that close to 22 percent of the players being allowed to participate had only produced medical certificates, implying that the players did not present birth certificates registered within a year of their birth.

Also read: Badminton: Age fraud in focus at All India Sub-Junior Ranking Tournament

As a result of the protests, only the morning matches could be conducted while Tago had to face the wrath of angry parents, who demanded medical tests for an alleged 12 overaged shuttlers.

“This is just bizarre that BAI is sending the observer on the third day of the tournament. My son, like other young players, had to face this overage issue at the Hyderabad ranking tournament held a few days ago too. BAI officials had assured the protesting parents in Hyderabad that there won’t be such an issue in Mohali,” said a parent on condition of anonymity, who had travelled from New Delhi. “We were shocked to see the same overage players we saw in Hyderabad, competing in Mohali too. We want justice and BAI should conduct medical tests of the questionable players.”

Around 70 parents have been holding protests since Day 1 (Tuesday) of the tournament. “It’s not the parent’s duty to look after age frauds during tournaments. We want our children to become top class badminton players of India and BAI should ensure fair play,” said another parent.

BAI secretary general Sanjay Mishra will meet the parents at the venue on Saturday morning to resolve the issue. The tournament was allotted to Punjab Badminton Association at the 11th hour after Goa Badminton Association refused to host the tournament.

“It’s a very sad state of affairs that overage players are competing without any fear. There is no harm in conducting medical tests otherwise why to conduct age-group tournaments? After the Thomas Cup triumph, badminton has gained tremendous popularity. BAI should be extra careful and should have sent their observer one day in advance. Se

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