New Telegraph

AIU Queries AFN Over Discrepancies In Ages Of Four Nigerian Athletes

EUGENE, UNITED STATES – JULY 19: Abby Steiner of USA, Favour Ofili of Nigeria competing on Women’s 200 metres during the World Athletics Championships on July 19, 2022 in Eugene, United States (Photo by Andy Astfalck/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), has demanded answers from the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), following discrepancies in the ages of four Nigerian athletes (names withheld) who are eligible to compete in August’s World U-20 Championships in Lima, Peru.

The AIU says it ‘has identified discrepancies regarding the date of birth (DOB) for at least four Nigerian athletes’, noting ‘each of these athletes has at least two, and sometimes three or more, different DOBs which have been used to enter competitions at different times.’

The body saddled with ensuring the integrity of athletics says it ‘is not aware of any reason why these athletes appear to have completely different, multiple DOBs. It is also not clear whether the identification documents submitted by the athletes (such as passports) are true or whether they have been forged or falsified.’

In a letter dated June 7, 2024, and addressed to Tonobok Okowa and Rita Moshindi, President and Secretary General, respectively, of the AFN, and signed by Brett Clothier, Head of the Athletics Integrity Unit, the AFN was given until Friday, June 21, 2024, to respond to the query.

The AIU demanded that the AFN submit, inter-alia, the athlete’s current passport, all previous passports, birth certificate, national ID card, documents submitted in support of passport applications, medical records, including hospitalization records, dental records, vaccination records as well as education records including matriculation records, school end-of-term/year reports ad school examination results among others.

The AFN was also expected to have furnished the AIU with any correspondence between the athlete and the federation regarding their date of birth.

One of the athletes is male and was a double champion in the U-18 category at the African U-18/U-20 Championships last year in Ndola, Zambia while the remaining three are females viz a sprinter, a hurdler and a long/triple jumper.

One of the female athletes had three different dates of birth while the male had 2004 and 2006 dates of birth.

Two of the athletes had different dates of birth in the AFN entry list for two of the federation’s competitions (in 2019 and 2021) but were registered by the federation with another date of birth for the African U-18/U-20 championships in 2023.

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