IAAF investigates over-age medallists at World Youth Champs

Ex-Kenyan stars face IAAF probe
By Chris Mbaisi

Kenya stands to gain medals if two Bahraini runners are found guilty of falsifying ages to run in the World Youth Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is pursuing the case and has asked Athletics Kenya (AK) to clarify the issue.

IAAF Secretary General, Istvan Gyulai, said the recently crowned world 2,000m steeplechase youth champion, Taker Tareq Mubarak, was entered as born February 1989.

He, however, said according to press reports, the athlete is the former Dennis Kipkurui Keter, who was born on March 24, 1984, according to their records.

The world youth 1,500m champion, Ali Belal Mansoor, formerly John Yego, was entered as born on October 17, 1988.

But Gyulai said press reports indicate that the runner was placed sixth in the 800m during the 2000 Kenyan Olympic trials.

"In several newspapers some recent reports openly question the age of two Bahraini athletes.

“It appears that both athletes were Kenyans earlier and we therefore ask you to provide all relevant information to us regarding the case,” said Gyulai.

AK chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat, has already responded in favour of the allegations.

“I have already told IAAF that the two runners are cheats and we have the proof,” he said.

At the same time, Kiplagat said they have set a three-man committee to investigate the matter further and give them more information.

He said the issue would be discussed during the IAAF Council meeting in Helsinki on August 3-4.

Kiplagat said if the two are found guilty, Kenya is likely to take second place in the overall rankings with five gold, six silver and two bronze.

Kenya stands to get a gold and silver in the 2,000m steeplechase won by Tareq.

Kenya’s Abel Mutai, who won silver, will move to gold medal position, while and bronze medalist, Bisluke Kipkorir, will take silver.

In the 1,500m, Kenya is likely to get bronze as their representative in the event, Leonard Kibet, finished fourth.

Prior to the junior event, The Standard had exclusively reported that the Gulf state was planning to present over-aged runners in the youth event.

Sources told The Standard that Tariq could not be a youth at the moment having spoilt current world 5,000m champion Eliud Kipchoge’s chances of winning part of Sh1 million cross country Jackpot in 2001.

Kipchoge only needed to win the last event in Eldoret to pocket the money when Tariq, then known as Kipkurui, beat him in the junior 8km in Eldoret.

His inclusion in the youth team this year raised questions as to whether at 10 years, Tariq would have won an 8km event in Kenya.

The sources said Tariq was born in 1984 and is well beyond the age-limit for juniors, let alone the youth.

The sources said the latest updates indicate his passport has allegedly been changed to indicate that he was born in 1990.

The same applied to Mansoor, who the source said, was approaching 25 years.

He said Mansoor took part in the Kenyan Olympic trials in 2000 and finished sixth in 800m.

He was back in the Kenyan Olympic trials and was placed in the same position.

The source wondered whether AK would have allowed an 11-year-old to participate in their trials.

The sources said a Moroccan coach was behind the age scandal and wanted to use it to build a reputation.

“He knows that by using these runners, they can win medals and this will no doubt build his profile as a coach,” the source said.

I hate this so much. But the problem usually is not in the new federation that these athletes go to. For example. Here in Egypt we have athletes that come from sudan a lot and they always provide stuff to say they are 15-17 years old, even though you see them married!!! So who ever comes always provides the proof. But then when it comes to the big meets when everyone is there. They do get busted.

Hi FD1…I understand, but then how about the girl (young woman) from Sudan who won the 400m at Marrakesh? She is stated to be only 16, but by the photo of her on the IAAF website she looks in her mid-20s and her winning time of 51.19sec is a bit too special for that age. Then again the Croatian’s time is also stunning for U18.

1 6 549 El Jack Nawal SUD 51.19 (CR) 0.191
2 4 153 Grgic Danijela CRO 51.30 (PB) 0.205

I’ll tell you what happens. Here in Egypt for Example we have people who come from areas where paper work and stuff like that is non sense to them. People who live by the oasis and the deserts. These people live and die without being recognized by anyone. No paper work, ID, etc…
When these people want to come to the cities for any reason they will need to interact with others through IDs Birth certificates etc… So they produce them. They are asked. When were you born. And someone would look at them for a couple of seconds and decides their age. It might not mattar if that person wants to finish some papers, study or even get a licence. But when they win the world championships, then you find out that the 2 second stare to decide the age was not enough. So how do you think you can solve something like this. It gets on my nerves sometimes but what can we do about it. Thats why a lot of juniors just fade so early. Because when they are seniors they are probably in their mid 30s or 40s or whatever. Strange isn’t it.

A friend of mine who worked there for fast interviews with a translator didnt reported the post race quotes of men’s 400m winner : “hello my name is XX i’m 20 years old, etc…” apparently his federation didn’t briefed him enough! lol

IT’s not the crime of the century. And it’s probably not the athlete’s fault. It is annoying and disappointing for the legitimate under-age kids, but if missing a medal is the worst thing that happens in their life they can consider themselves blessed.

In any case I do have a problem with “trophy hunting” at junior age when so much more development should be going on. I’m not against competition so long as it is part of a progressive preparation for Open competition where the adult athletes presumably can make their own decisions about how hard they train.