Vastavam web: To tackle the menace of age fraud, the AITA has made it mandatory for players to submit a report of TW3 age verification test for registration if they do not have a birth certificate issued within one year of birth even as the newly-crowned national champion Tejasvi Dabas has “voluntarily” withdrawn from the Under-12 category after allegations surfaced that she was overage.Tejasvi, claimed to be 11-year old with height of 5 feet four inches, recently won the girls’ Under-12 National Championship, held in Mumbai.
After receiving complaints against Tajasvi, AITA called her parents for a meeting and the outcome was that the player agreed to withdraw from the Under-12 category and is now allowed to compete only in Under-14 and Under-16 categories.”She is a huge girl, that’s the main problem. I will not say it’s an age fraud issue. I will say that the parents volunteered to withdraw due to complaints. It’s a fact,” AITA secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee told PTI, explaining the body’s decision.
Asked if AITA tried to find the correct age of the girl, Chatterjee said, “We did not need to verify. The father of the girl said that her child looks big (growth is good) and that’s why people are complaining.” “Had they contested, then we could have thought of age verification test. We asked them to put it (withdrawal from U-12) in writing and they did. Certificate-wise she can still play. Since there were complaints, we had to discuss it but it did not go to that level that we had to subject her to age verification test.”Former Indian Davis Cupper Vishal Uppal said age cheating was “indeed rampant” in Indian tennis circuit and needs to be tackled with strong deterrents.
“It’s a serious issue we are facing. It’s a step in right direction but we need strong deterrents to instill fear in the minds of cheaters. Players against whom there are strong doubts should not be selected in any junior Indian team,” Uppal said. When contacted, Tejasvi’s father Jayant defended her daughter.”She is definitely 11 but since she is winning consistently, there are complaints. If she was losing no one would have said anything. We live in a village and feed our daughter with pure goat milk and home grown vegetables, that’s why her growth is good,” Jayant, hailing from Kanjhawala, said.In the Indian tennis circle, it is believed that more than the parents it’s the coaches who are to be blamed for age cheating since if their players do well, they get a name for themselves.