Haryana's 10km race walker Paramdeep Mor on Sunday became the first athlete to be found overage and disqualified in the ongoing National Junior Athletics Championships in Guwahati. In the morning session of the second day of the meet, Mor won silver medal in the 10km race walk event in the boys' under-20 category. "After we got medical report from the lab we found that Mor wasn't eligible to compete in the junior section. Therefore, the result was revised. The Athletics Federation of India has zero tolerance towards overage," competition manager Nitin Arya told IANS.
According to revised result, Manipur's Ningthoukhongja was declared second while Assam's Bikram Das was elevated to the third place.
It was a setback for Haryana as the second athlete in fray, Gulshan, didn't start the race.
Earlier, in January Mor, had won silver in Junior Federation Cup in Bhopal.
On the eve of the competition, the AFI had zeroed in on to at least 90 athletes who weren't eligible to compete in age group competition as the age verification committee had declared them "doubtful cases".
"The athletes were subject to more scrutiny and were taken to a local laboratory identified for medical check-up," said Arya.
"Overage is a burgeoning issue that needs to be tackled firmly by the state units. If detailed examination of the documents and athlete is done before sending the athlete for national meets, it would save time and energy of the AFI," said former national coach Gurdev Singh from Punjab.
AFI had been spotting overage athletes and disqualifying them in the junior level, having put in place a robust programme in 2017.
"Many medal winning athletes were caught and debarred. Some athletes threatened to go to court if they were not allowed to compete at the junior national. But the AFI insisted they would be allowed only after lab test, which the athletes refused to take," said a coach familiar with the development.
In two years, more than 400 athletes have been found overage in different age group competitions and were debarred.
Two years ago, Delhi's prominent sprinter Nisar Ahmed was among 40 debarred from the 2019 Youth Athletics Championships held in Raipur, Chattisgarh. "Some overage athletes might do well in junior category but don't do well when they graduate to senior level," said Gurdev Singh.