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Why do players involve in age fudging and how will method like Tanner Whitehouse 3 (TW3) help?

Why?

The performances of age fraud players in the under age category are helping them to steal the government sports scholarships, sponsorships, and NGO supports from the same age junior players. Junior phase from when the above sports bodies are scouting the country's promising talents.


Financial supports from the said agencies are vital for gaining BWF and BAI ranking. If a player participates 8 nationals and minimum 4 international tournaments in a year, it costs him by minimum of 8 lakhs Indian Rupee which is not easy for a middle economy class family in India.


Consequences of Age Fudging

Certain age fraud player, identified as more than two years over aged during the recent all India sub junior ranking tournaments happened in Jaipur, February 2023, has selected for SAI Khelo India support which was released on May 2023. A real time example is here...


Viewers are requested to compare the following circulars.


It is an alarming situation of Indian sports and age fudging should be considered worse than money laundering, or corruption. If a age fraud player gained funding / scholarships for five years with age fraudulent performances from different agencies, it would be the financial value more than 50 lakhs in Indian Rupee.


Beyond these financial impacts, the same age players may be field out or are having the heavy psychological pressure while competing over aged players than focusing on their training.


What is TW3?


In June 2023, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) released the SOP and VARS to control the age fraud challenges and directed to use the method like Tanner Whitehouse 3 (TW3) method for Sub Junior and Junior badminton players in India besides the background verification of birth date documents.


The test is an assessment of skeletal maturity. Alternative and popular methods along with TW3 are Greulich-Pyle and FELS which provide hand-wrist radiographs.


The TW3 method uses X-Rays of the left hand and wrist to examine the skeletal maturity of a person and thereby determine their bone age.


The bone age obtained from the result of this test would then be the sole criterion to determine players' eligibility in Sub Junior and Junior tournaments, as opposed to chronological age as per the age proof documents which was the yardstick until now.


Image Source, Springer.com


Other Indian Sports Federations, using TW3 and BoneXpert software against age fudging, are All India Football Federation's (AIFF) from 2018, All India Tennis Association (AITA) from 2018, and BCCI from 2020.


It helps doctors and sports bodies to determine the biological age of the bone. Since most people are right-handed, and the right hand has with strain, test obtain from the left hand.


To detect the fraudulent activities related to age, besides the speculation of TW3's biological age estimation with +/- 6 months deviation with chronological age, other sports associations in India already had started using BoneXpert Software technology, alongside TW3 method to increase the accuracy, the technology which is cheaper and instant approach.


The bone age obtained from the result of this test would then be the sole criterion to determine players' eligibility in Sub Junior and Junior tournaments, as opposed to chronological age as per the age proof documents which was the yardstick until now.


TW3 is the best technology that sports currently has, but that does not necessarily make it foolproof. There are children who grow fast and naturally look bigger and older for their age.


In certain countries, to clasify the junior groups, they are using Bilogical Age measured by the method like TW3/FELS/GP with the technology like BoneXpert Software, than relying the chronological age decided by the birth documents.




The introduction of VARS and SOP by BAI is an important step in addressing the issue of age fraud in Indian badminton. It will lead to a more competitive and equal playing field, fostering a healthy and fair sporting environment for all athletes. The BAI's efforts to eradicate age fraud will also help in building greater credibility and respect for the sport, encouraging more youngsters to take up badminton and pursue it as a career.

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