AIU questions AFN over age discrepancy between four Nigerian players

AIU questions AFN over age discrepancy between four Nigerian players

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has demanded an explanation from the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) following discrepancies in the ages of four unnamed Nigerian athletes who are eligible to compete in the World U-20 Championships to be held in Lima, Peru in August.

The AIU said it had “identified discrepancies regarding the dates of birth (DOB) of at least four Nigerian athletes,” noting that “each of these athletes had at least two, and in some cases three or more, different DOBs which were used to participate in competitions at different times.”

According to the AIU, the players in question are Ero Blessing Okpa, Samuel Uchenna Ogaji, Osatohammwen Failus Osamuye and Grace Oshiokpu.

The body, responsible for ensuring the integrity of athletics, said it was “unclear why these athletes appear to have multiple, completely different dates of birth and it is unclear whether the identification documents they have provided (such as passports) are genuine or forged/altered.”

In a letter signed by AIU representative Brett Crocier and addressed to AFN president Tonobok Okowa and secretary Rita Mosindi on June 7, 2024, the AFN was directed last Friday to respond to the queries by June 21, 2024.

The AIU instructed the AFN to submit the players' current passports, all past passports, birth certificates, national identity cards, documents submitted in support of passport applications, medical records including hospitalisation records, dental records and immunisation records, enrolment records, school end of term/year reports and education records including school examination results.

The group also said it expected AFN to submit any correspondence between players and the federation regarding their dates of birth.

One of the athletes is a male (Ogaji) who was the double U-18 champion at last year's African U-18/U-20 Championships in Ndola, Zambia, while the other three are females – a sprinter, a hurdler and a long jump/triple jumper respectively.

According to the AIU, one of the female players (Oshiokpu) had three different dates of birth, while the male player had dates of birth in 2004 and 2006. Two of the players had different dates of birth on the AFN entry lists for the federation's two tournaments (2019 and 2021), but were registered with different dates of birth by the federation for the 2023 African U-18/U-20 Championships.


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