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High Jumper Tejaswin Shankar included in player's list of CWG 2022

ANI | Updated: Jul 06, 2022 20:15 IST

New Delhi [India], July 6 (ANI): The Athletics of India (AFI) on Wednesday included the name of high jumper Tejaswin Shankar after another athlete could not qualify during the trials for the upcoming Common Wealth Games.
This fact was apprised to the Delhi High court on Wednesday by the AFI. Shankar had moved the High Court challenging his exclusion.
Advocate Hrishikesh Barua, counsel for AFI, on instruction submitted before the bench of Justice Yashwant Varma that Arokia Rajiv was enlisted as part of 4 x 400 Relay Team, who was disqualified in the trials.
He further submitted that in view of the resultant vacancy that occurred, the petitioner's name shall be duly included and forwarded forthwith amongst the list of athletes forming part of the Indian contingent for the upcoming Common Wealth Games 2022.
"Let AFI consequently and forthwith transmit all particulars to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) which may take further consequential steps. The court expects both AFI and IOA to proceed further with due dispatch bearing in mind the timelines prescribed," the bench said.
The bench observed, "The Court finds that the issue which is raised in the writ petition including the question of selection being made in accordance with the standards prescribed by AFI or the CWG, the right of athletes training or competing overseas at the time of trials being conducted in the country, the procedure for exemption would merit further consideration so that the dispute like the present which was faced by the petitioner athlete does not recur."
Let all statistics and relevant standards be placed on record by way of an additional affidavit. The court also leaves it open to the AFI and IOA to file any further affidavits that they may deem necessary. The Court shall outline the issues which merit consideration after hearing parties in the next occasion, the order of July 7 read.
The matter has been listed for 25 August 2022 for further hearing.
The Delhi High Court vacation bench had issued notice to the Athletic Federation of India (AFI), Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports and others on High Jumper Tajaswin Shankar's petition against his exclusion.
Tajeswin Shankar has approached the Delhi High Court challenging the decision of the AFI to exclude the petitioner, a high jumper, from participating in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG 2022).
The plea has stated that despite being the national high jump record holder (2.29m) and being the only Indian to have met the AFI qualification standard of 2.27m with a jump of 2.27m as recently as 10 June 2022, while winning a gold medal at the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championship 2022 in Eugene, Oregon in the USA was not included in the list of athletes.
Senior Advocate Gopal Shankar Narayanan had submitted that the petitioner has not been considered by the AFI for failing to take permission to be exempted from attending the 2022 Interstate Senior Athletics Championships (Interstate championships).
He had submitted that this cannot be a disqualifying criterion for the petitioner as the 'AFI Qualification Guidelines For Selection Of Indian Team' provides the AFI with the discretion to exempt 'elite' athletes from participating in the Interstate Championships.
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 having met the qualification standard in any competition this season (she has a best this season of 55.97m as against the qualification standard of 58m). Despite this, Punia has been allowed in the team provided she secures the qualification standard at California.
Appearing for petitioner athlete Advocate Malak Bhatt mentioned that the petitioner is at present, indisputably, the best Indian high jumper in the world, and on the basis of current form is undoubtedly a medal contender at the CWG 2022. In fact, only two high jumpers (both non-Indian) who will prospectively be competing at the CWG 2022 have a better jump than him this year. It is in the interest of the nation that the Petitioner be allowed to participate in the CWG 2022, on the basis of his merit, as established from his jumping record, both recent and otherwise. In fact, the AFI has been recognizing the petitioner as a top performer since 2019.
Hence, the country ought not to be allowed to throw away a distinct opportunity at securing a medal at CWG 2022 due to the AFI's pedantic approach.
In the above conspectus, it is prayed that the petitioner not be disqualified from participating at the CWG 2022 based on non-attendance at the Interstate championships, and be allowed to participate on the basis of having met the qualifying standard at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships, the plea read. (ANI)