The All India Tennis Association (AITA) have decided on a compulsory age verification test for all juniors entering the National Championships, a move Mahesh Bhupathi says should have been in place 50 years ago. Players that have been selected for the Junior Davis Cup, as well as Fed Cup, will be required to undergo the same test. The alleged molestation inside the CLTA complex that led to accusation of age fudging against 5 junior players.
“From now onwards all players in age group competitions (U12, U14 and U16) in the main draws at the national championships will be subjected to age verification test (TW3). Also, the junior players selected to represent country will have to undergo the test,” AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee said. “It’s not that we are doing it for the first time. In the past also, players were asked to take this medical test but somehow it was stopped. Now that the CLTA issue has gained a lot of media attention and senior players have voiced concerns, the AITA office bearers discussed and felt that this step is required,” he said.
The cost of the test will be born by the players that are entering the Junior Davis Cup and the Fed Cup teams. A player will not be tested again in case they come out with a clean slate the first time. There were rumours that age testing should be conducted when a player registers with AITA but Chatterjee said that isn’t necessary. “There are a few guidelines in place. When a child is registered within a year of his birth, then that document is valid for registration with AITA. But if the certificate is procured after one year and the player comes to us, we can ask for age verification test,” he said.
India’s first Grand Slam Champion said, “This is a basic requirement so I am not going to applaud anyone and say well done. It has come 50 years too late. Lots of kids have had to deal with this for so many years. Hopefully, this is just not a random announcement and they can put a disciplined process to make sure both kids and parents will be held accountable for trying to cheat.”