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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 14:26, August 09, 2006
Kenyan police officer accused of age falsification
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A Kenyan police officer was accused on Tuesday of aiding young athletes to falsify their ages.

Sports Minister Maina Kamanda told a news conference in Nairobi that Silas Ruto, a senior Inspector of Police, assisted Thomas Longosiwa and Emmanuel Chammer to falsify their ages and enable them to feature in the national team scheduled to compete in the world junior championships this month in Beijing, China.

According to Kamanda, Ruto wrote and signed that Chammer was born in 1988 instead of 1984 so that he could attain a second passport and represent the junior team.

"An officer knowing very well that this young man is already in the police force and that the correct document states his date of birth as 1984, went ahead and wrote a letter to cheat that the boy was born in 1988," the minister said.

The national team is scheduled to compete in the world junior championships in Beijing China this weekend.

Kamanda has now pointed an accusing finger at coaches and senior government officials for being behind the age cheating scandal.

Chammer owned up after his colleague Thomas Longosiwa, who has been dropped from the junior championships, was arrested last week and subsequently charged for age cheating.

"After running at the national trials, I knew I would make the junior team and when I asked whether it would be possible to enter the team, I was told to go and get a new birth certificate," said Chammer.

He said that the arrest of fellow athlete Thomas Longosiwa prompted him to confess.

"When my teammate (Longosiwa) was arrested last week, I decided to own up because it would have been bad for me to be arrested in a similar manner," he added.

Last week, Longosiwa denied the charges of forging his age on his birth certificate and providing false information on a passport application.

Lengosiwa was said to have two official documents; one passport indicated he was born on January 14, 1982 and the other May 14, 1988.

He was on Wednesday flushed out of the training camp by Sports Minister Maina Kamanda who said he had received complaints that some of the athletes in the team were overage.

The junior athlete was in the Kenyan junior team which won the overall title in the world cross country championships in Fukuoka, Japan in April this year.

Kamanda said he has reported the matter to the Police Commissioner Maj. Gen. Hussien Ali and is also scheduled to hold a meeting with all coaches countrywide next week in order to stamp out the vice.

"I have reported this case to the commissioner of police and he has assured me that he is going to take action against the officer and I also requested the commissioner to ensure that the athlete is not victimized," the minister said.

The team leaves on Thursday for Beijing where Kenya hopes to improve on their third position in the last world junior championships in Italy.

In his reaction, Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat denied any claims that his association was involved in the scandal.

The national junior athletics team manager Kimutai Ngetich has said he will not make any replacement for the two athletes.

Two former Kenyans now holding Bahrain passports were arrested on July 7 and questioned over alleged age falsification.

The world junior championships are restricted to athletes aged 16 to 17 years, while the junior men's race at the world cross country event is restricted to competitors of 18 and 19.

Source: Xinhua

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