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ECOWAS Games: Time running out on age cheats

21 June 2012, 17:29

Accra - The time for age cheats in sports is fast ticking away going by what happened at the current ECOWAS Games being staged in Accra, the Ghanaian capital.

The team from Cote d’Ivoire had protested on Wednesday against a certain Ghanaian player who violated the rules.

that the Ivorians went into the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) website to print the bio-data of the said girl, who violated the rules.

They printed the passport details from the FIVB website that had her birthday in 1992, but the player had presented another passport details that had 1989 as her year of birth.

``Since the only valid document to authenticate ages presented by national federations is the passport, this is at variance with the one tendered by Ghana.

``That was the only document the Ivorian federation needed to convince the technical committee to disqualify the player complained about,’’ said Tony Oghuma, a member of the committee in an interview with NAN.

``This is one of the ways to combat age cheats in competitions, particularly in Africa where desperation to win at-all-cost is nearing epidemic proportion.

``All you need is go to right portion of the FIVB website and electronically ask for the bio-data of any player from any part of the world who has participated in any of its competitions and they would oblige you,’’ added Oghuma.

The basis of the evidence presented by Cote d’Ivoire, they were awarded the gold medal won by Ghana in the event.

The leader of the Nigerian delegation to the ongoing ECOWAS Games, Mr Elias Gora, is on his last official assignment with the Federal Ministry of Sports as a member of staff.

Gora formally and voluntarily retired from the federal civil service on June 19 while leading Team Nigeria to Accra.

``What a beautiful way to eased out of the service,’’ remarked Mr Francis Njoaguani, the Director of the Ouagadougou-based ECOWAS Sports Development Centre.

With Nigeria, the defending champions of the ECOWAS Games, seating uncomfortably atop the medals table with 13 gold medals followed by Ghana with nine gold medals, it is once more time for permutation.

With only boxing yet to be decided among the sports offered by Nigeria, officials have been speculating what could happen to make the country retain the overall top placing at the end of the Games.

``We are banking on prayers to see us through,’’ said a Nigerian official, who pleaded anonymity.

However, Bolaji Ojo-Oba, the Director of Sports, Elite Athletes, said he had no regrets that the ministry dropped two team sports – handball and volleyball.

The  two sports had the prospects to contribute four gold medals to Nigeria’s haul.

NANgathered that the two sports won all four golds at the maiden edition of the Games staged in Abuja in 2010. Nigeria is still ranked the best in the two disciplines as at date.



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