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17-Year-Old Athlete In Age Controversy Releases Birth Certificate And Passport Proof

Tom Wood

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17-Year-Old Athlete In Age Controversy Releases Birth Certificate And Passport Proof

Featured Image Credit: Golders News and Sport Ltd.

A 17-year-old athlete has attracted controversy online because people say he looks well older than he claims to be.

However, the club that Edward Zakayo Pingua runs for has now released his passport and birth certificate to prove that he is as old has he says he is.

Zakayo Pingua was questioned as to his age after he won the under 20s 5000m race at a Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco.

After winning the race in June, speculation started to swirl after photographs of the runner - who runs for Benfica athletics team out of Lisbon - emerged.

Credit: Golders News and Sport Ltd.
Credit: Golders News and Sport Ltd.

Now, the Portuguese team has released documents that prove beyond doubt that Edward is really just 17-years-old, regardless of how old he looks.

Zakayo Pingua is the African champion both outright and at under 20s level across the 5,000m distance.

One person online said: "I think this could be a case like that of Benjamin Button."

Another commented: "He looks like my dad."

A third added: "His eldest grandson is 17 years old."

Credit: Golders News and Sport Ltd.
Credit: Golders News and Sport Ltd.

Well, they're all wrong. Benfica has released a passport and a birth certificate that was issued on March 17 2016, when Edward was 14 years old. The documents confirm that Edward was born in Kenya on November 25 2001.

That makes him all of 17 years old. Exactly as old as he said he was.

Reports in the Portuguese media suggest that Benfica decided originally not to comment on the speculation regarding his age officially, but then decided afterwards to condemn any questions about it.

It seems as though with the release of these documents, they've finally decided to put the issue to bed once and for all.

Credit: Golders News and Sport Ltd.
Credit: Golders News and Sport Ltd.

Despite all of this swirling around him, Zakayo Pingua's athletic career is going from strength to strength.

The young Kenyan recently moved into the top ten in the world over the 5,000m distance. He's also the youngest person to be in the top ten and has the ninth fastest time out of everyone in the world so far this year.

That feat was achieved at a Diamond League meeting in Rome earlier this year when he ran a time of 13 minutes and three seconds.

He also managed to take home the bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games 5,000m race at the event on Australia's Gold Coast last year.

Topics: World News

Tom Wood
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