This is an astonishing story from The News website in Pakistan, where a row has erupted over methods of testing junior players to determine their ages amid allegations of players entering tournaments when over-age.
By WAQAR HAMZA
KARACHI: Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) continues to use the old method of checking armpits of squash players to determine age instead of going for proper medical examination, ‘The News’ has learnt.
In a scrutiny conducted by PSF for under-11, -15 and -19 categories on Thursday, 60 percent players were found overage. The scrutiny was conducted because of a row over age between some provincial associations.
“With a manual scrutiny, you get 60 percent of your players over-age. Just imagine how big this problem is. And what would be the result if PSF conducted medical examination of the players!” said a member of the committee while talking to this scribe.
There were around 150 players scrutinised and most of the overage players were found in the category of Under-11. “Around 22 players were of the Under-19 category, out of which only four were really under-19. And they were so visibly over-aged that one could easily have detected them,” he added.
Five players of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were pointed out as over-age in the Under-11 category, and some 15 to 20 were in the category of U-19. Similarly, some 7 to 8 players from Lahore were deemed overage in the Under-19, and most of the overage players were from Punjab.
“Now, they have to conduct medical test of those players who still appear overage. And now the federation should make it sure that no overage player gets a chance to play in the very initial category of Under-11 without medical examination,” said the source.
Otherwise, he added, this issue would persist and there would be no end to it. “Can you imagine all the four junior players who are to play world junior championship soon are overage,” he added.
A boy named Hamza Bokhari was considered overage for Under-19 category some three years back. “But now, you see he is there, back to play in the same category he was found over-aged for some three years back. And he is also part of the junior team that is to take part in world championship,” said the source.
The other players announced for the team that is to appear in the world championship, Danish Atlas and Nasir Iqbal, are still playing in the Under-19 category although they have crossed the age limit long ago, he added. “But they show us their passports to prove their claim. Can you believe that in Pakistan you cannot get your documents forged?” he questioned.