Thu, 21 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], June 24 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and said that it is hoping that the IOA would increase the layers' quota for the Common Wealth Games (CWG) squad which would enable the athletic federation to send its well-deserving players to upcoming Commonwealth Games 2022 squad.

Adv Parth Goswami, representing the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) has said that they have sent a representation to Indian Olympic Association to increase their quota so that other well-deserving players including Tejaswin Shankar can be considered for participation.

The Bench of Jasmeet Singh said it hopes the IOA will consider the said representation positively. This court is hopeful that the AFI quota would be increased for CWG so that additionally selected players can participate. Court added IOA as a party in the matter and listed the matter for 4 July 2022.

Justice Jasmeet Singh on Friday also noted that the submission of the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) on June 22, a meeting was held in this regard and considered several names. Committee said in case the quota is increased by IOA, high jumper Tejaswin Shankar will be considered for CWG.

The Delhi High Court on the last date of hearing 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.

The court had asked the selection committee of the Athletics Federation to consider his case in its meeting while seeking the response of all respondents.

Tajeswin Shankar has approached the Delhi High Court challenging the decision of the Athletics Federation of India to exclude the petitioner, a high jumper, from participating in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG 2022).

The plea stated that despite being the national high jump record holder (2.29m) and being the only Indian to have met the Athletics Federation of India qualification standard of 2.27m with a jump of 2.27m as recently as 10.06.2022, while winning a gold medal at the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championship 2022 in Eugene, Oregon in the USA.

Senior Advocate Gopal Shankar Narayanan on last date of hearing 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 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 lawyer further argued that the guidelines themselves do not speak of the need for a representation for an exemption to be made 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, 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 on 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 NCAA championships, plea read. (ANI)

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