Delhi HC urges AFI to reconsider inclusion of high jumper Tejaswin Shankar in CWG team
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 squad for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
India’s national high jump record holder Shankar was knocking on the doors of the High Court in Delhi after his exclusion from the 2022 Commonwealth Games squad. He was not included in the list of 37 names selected by the federation which held a meeting of the selection committee last week.
“The court recorded that he is the main competitor this year and that only two people above him have the best jumps in the world. He reached the qualifying marks set by the AFI itself. The federation has been actively invited to consider entering the selection competition,” her attorney, attorney Malak Bhatt, told IANS.
He further said: “It’s a progressive order today… let’s see what happens on Friday as the AFI said they have a quota of 36 people which they cannot exceed but the high jump remains underrepresented , the court noted.
Shankar, based in Delhi, is studying business administration at Kansas State University in the United States and has been on a four-year athletic scholarship since 2017.
In his argument, the Claimant argued that the AFI’s decision to exclude him from the CWG team is arbitrary, illegal and contrary to the national interest.
The federation’s decision is despite being the national high jump record holder (2.29m) and being the only Indian to have achieved the qualification standard of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) 2.27m with a jump of 2.27m as recently as June 10. , while winning a gold medal at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon in the United States, said his plea.
The petitioner made a representation to Radhakrishnan Nair, National Head Coach as early as February 2022, asking for an exemption from participating in the Interstate Championships as they clashed with the NCAA Championship via WhatsApp. However, no response was provided by the AFI to the petitioner’s request for exemption, it said.
In fact, Radhakrishnan had on June 11 hinted to the petitioner via WhatsApp that he would be considered by the selection committee based on his 2.27m jump at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship, and s was repeatedly inquired about the status of the petitioner’s visa for CWG 2022, he added.
The plea further stated that the “AFI Qualification Guidelines for Indian Team Selection” gives the AFI discretionary authority to exempt “elite” athletes from participating in Interstate Championships. . The guidelines themselves do not speak of the need to make a declaration of exemption and it becomes clear that the AFI could exempt an elite athlete if deemed appropriate.
“The AFI granted exemptions to Neeraj Chopra, Seema Punia and Avinash Sable from the said event. In fact, Ms. Punia was included in the squad despite not reaching the qualifying standard in any competition this season ( she has a record this season of 55.97m against the qualifying standard of 58m.) Despite this, Ms. Punia was allowed into the team on the condition that she achieve the qualifying standard in California,” it reads. in the petition.
The plea also referred to the case of Manika Batra v Indian Table Tennis Federation, 2021, saying the court had accepted the argument of the Additional Solicitor General that the National Sport Code, 2011 enjoins all sports federations to make a judicious selection of players for participation in major international events based on merit and not simply on the basis of participation in national camps organized by them.
It has also been argued that nothing in the 2011 Sporting Code requires sporting bodies to frame such rules for individual sports where individual player comfort, convenience and preference are paramount.
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