The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to reconsider its decision and include high jumper Tejaswin Shankar in the national team for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Shankar, India’s high jump national record holder, was approaching the Delhi High Court after he was dropped from the 2022 Commonwealth Games squad. He was not included in the list of 37 names selected by the federation in the selection committee meeting last week.
“The court has recorded that he is the leading contender for this year and only two men above him have the better jump in the world. He met only the qualifying marks prescribed by AFI. The federation has been asked to actively consider his participation in the selection meeting,” his lawyer lawyer Malak Bhatt told IANS.
He continued: “It’s a progressive order today… let’s see what happens on Friday because the AFI was saying they have a quota of 36 people they can’t exceed, but the high jump is under-represented , the court noted.”
Shankar, who hails from Delhi, is studying business administration at Kansas State University in the US and has been on a four-year athletics scholarship since 2017.
In the petition, the petitioner argued that the AFI’s decision to drop him from the Commonwealth Games squad was arbitrary, illegal and against the national interest.
The federation’s decision comes despite being the national high jump record holder (2.29m) and being the only Indian to meet the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) qualification standard of 2.27m with a jump of 2.27m as recently as June 10. , while winning a gold medal at the 2022 NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in the US, said his petition.
The petitioner made a representation to national head coach Radhakrishnan Nair in early February 2022, seeking exemption from participating in the interstate championships as they clashed with the NCAA championship via WhatsApp. However, there was no response by the AFI to the petitioner’s request for exemption, it said.
In fact, Radhakrishnan had informed the petitioner on June 11 via WhatsApp that he would be considered by the selection committee on the basis of his jump of 2.27m at the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships 2022, and repeatedly requested the petitioner’s visa. inquired about the situation. Commonwealth Games 2022, added to it.
The petition further states that the “AFI Qualification Guidelines for Selection of the Indian Team” gives the AFI discretion to exempt “elite” athletes from participating in the Inter-State Championships. The guidelines themselves do not speak of a representation requirement for the exemption and it becomes clear that the AFI may grant an exemption to a specific athlete if deemed appropriate.
“AFI exempted Neeraj Chopra, Seema Punia and Avinash Sable from the said event. In fact, Ms Punia was included in the team despite not meeting the qualifying standard in any competition this season (her best is 55.97m this season against the qualifying standard of 58m). Despite this, Ms Punia has been allowed in the team, provided she achieves the qualifying standard in California,” read the writ petition.
The petition also referred to the case of Manika Batra vs Table Tennis Federation of India, 2021, which said that the court accepted the submission of the Additional Solicitor General that the National Sports Code, 2011 would give discretionary powers to all national sports federations. commands to select. Participation in major international events on the basis of merit and not merely on the basis of participation in the national camps organized by them.
It was also submitted that there is nothing in the Sports Code, 2011 that mandates sports bodies to frame rules for individual-based sports where the convenience, convenience and preference of the individual player is of paramount importance.
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