Age Fraud In Sports: These Athletes Received Bans For Lying About Their Age

Many get away with age fraud in sports, but these players did not and had to confront reality.

Manjot Kalra was a household name after the 2018 U-19 Cricket World Cup.

Often, we are told by well-meaning friends that "age is just a number". It never is just that, definitely not in sports.

Age plays a crucial factor in a professional athlete’s life and performance. Athletes have a short career span, and within that, they aim to reach the heights. It is not easy to succeed in sports and therefore some take shortcuts and resort to age fraud in their junior days. This helps them compete in younger age groups and win laurels which they otherwise might not have. These performances, then, lead to team selection, embellishments on the resume, jobs and so on.

But then some of them get caught, and lose name and respect. Here are a few such examples.

Manjot Kalra (Cricket)

Cricket in India is safeguarded under the watchful eye of the Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) but one of the cricketers who escaped attention was Delhi's Manjot Kalra. A left-handed opener, Kalra scored a hundred in the final of the 2018 U-19 World Cup. But then the southpaw was suspended by the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) Ombudsman for one year from playing Ranji Trophy, for alleged age fraud during his U-16 and U-19 days. Kalra's birth date was found to be 15 January 1998 instead of 1999. A chargesheet was filed by Delhi police against him and his parents. DDCA also banned him for two years from playing age category matches.

Gourav Mukhi (Football)

Indian football is never short of controversies and one such in the list was that of Gourav Mukhi. The forward who represented Jamshedpur FC in the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL) was suspended for six months by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for age fudging. An AIFF statement said the decision was taken “on the basis of the evidence presented by him (Mukhi), his admissions and the statements of Manager of U-16 AIFF academy in 2015.” The player completed his ban in September 2019 after submitting his correct age certificate.

Nisar Ahmed (Sprint)

Touted as India's Usain Bolt, Nisar Ahmed made news for the wrong reasons during the 2019 National Youth Athletics Championships in Raipur. He was disqualified from the event on the grounds of age fudging. Ahmed, alongside 40 other athletes, were then banned by the Athletics Federation Of India (AFI).

Rasikh Salam (Cricket)

Another cricketer who ended up fudging his age was Jammu and Kashmir youngster, Rasikh Salam. The rookie pacer who represented Mumbai Indians in IPL 2019 was banned for two years "following a discrepancy - submission of faulty birth certificate to BCCI", the Indian board said in a press release. Salam completed his two-year ban and went on to feature for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2022 edition of the IPL.

Bhanupratap Chauhan, Aditi Sharma (Badminton)

During the All India Sub-Junior (U-13) 2022 tournament in Mohali, two athletes, Bhanupratap Chauhan and Aditi Sharma, were banned by the Badminton Association Of India (BAI) after it turned out the players were overage. Parents of other players protested and had entered the courts causing the games to be disrupted at the event.