In a first in, a sub-junior ranking U-13 badminton tournament of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) was stopped midway and postponed for a day after more than 60 parents protested over alleged overage players. The U-13 All India Sub-Junior Ranking Tournament is being conducted by Punjab Badminton Association (PBA) under the aegis of BAI at Mohali. The parents had earlier written a complaint letter, which was signed by more than 60 of them, to Sanjay Mishra, secretary, BAI.

“These are the same players, who have fudged their age and have submitted fake birth certificates and had played in a ranking tournament at Hyderabad before this tournament. We submitted the proof of age fudging and the real birth certificates got through RTI of two players from Rajasthan to BAI secretary Sanjay Mishra. Prior to the tournament, BAI officials had promised us that necessary steps would be taken but no such step has been taken. The two players were supposed to play their match today afternoon and hence we protested,” said Ravi Vyas, parent of a player.

While some of the parents sat on the court stopping the matches midway, BAI observer Bamang Tago was seen urging the parents to let the matches happen. After discussions for more than two hours, the organizing committee of PBA decided to postpone the matches to Saturday and promised a meeting of parents with Mishra, who was coming to Chandigarh, on Saturday morning. On Wednesday, the parents sent a letter saying that they had submitted a formal complaint at Hyderabad too but no action had been taken against the players who had allegedly fudged their age.

“Apart from the two players from Rajasthan, some of us have got documents regarding age fraud by more players. We will be submitting the documents to Sanjay Mishra on Saturday morning and hopefully such malpractices can be stopped. Some of these players, who competed at Hyderabad, did not come to Mohali and we want those players’ documents to be probed. Some of the players have created multiple BAI IDs and this should be checked and an FIR should be lodged,” said Cheluvaraj K of Karnataka, parent of another player.

Meanwhile, BAI observer Bamang Tago said the BAI secretary will be taking necessary steps if the allegations are found to be correct. “I listened to the complaints of the parents and they also submitted their complaints with me. Verifying such fraud, if that’s the case, takes time and we will abide by the rules,” said Tago.

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KK Sharma, chairman of BAI age fraud committee refused to comment while Mishra did not answer despite repeated attempts. “I am not authorised to speak regarding this issue,” said Sharma.