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Delhi HC directs AFI selection panel to consider High Jumper Tajaswin Shankar for CWG 2022

New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday 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 Bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh on Wednesday 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.

The petitioner is also part of the TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) for the last years which is a flagship Olympic development scheme under the Ministry of Sports and has been receiving a scholarship for the same, plea stated.

Senior Advocate Gopal Shankar Narayanan 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, 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 NCAA championships, plea read. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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