The World U20 championships that is happening in Tampere, Finland is producing trailblazers who will light the athletics scene for the next generation while at the same time, controversy on the actual age of Girmawit Gebrzihair raises eyebrows on participants.
How old is 16 years really in Ethiopia because we know what a 16 year old invariably looks like all over the world? Gebrzihair looks older than her purported age of 16 years. To a lay man, she can easily pass for 30 year old but because junior championships are less stringent in terms of checking the veracity of age claims by athletes, such contestants claim an age that might not be truly theirs.
For fairness purposes, if Gebrzihair is not 16 then this is an indictment on IAAF which is supposed to verify athletes ages.
In 2017 according to information from the IAAF athlete profile, Gebrzihair ran an astonishing time of 32:33 in the 10 KM race, such an astounding feat for a young person for a 14 year old. This matter will be left in the court of public opinion until further notice but it does raise some eyebrows as to the fairness of such competitions.
Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet won the race while writing history as Ethiopian duo of Ejgayehu Taye and Girmawit crossed the line in second and third place in 15:30.87 and 15:34.01 respectively.