High jumper Tejaswin Shankar takes legal route after being overlooked for Commonwealth Games
After being overlooked for the upcoming Commonwealth Games despite meeting the qualification standards set by the Athletics Federation of India, high jumper Tejaswin Shakar has moved to the Delhi High Court. The national record holder recently attained the qualification mark at NCAA Championship.
As per a report in The Indian Express, Malak Bhatt, Shankar’s lawyer, has said that the decision is arbitrary, illegal, and “against national interest."
“A potential medal contender for the CWG Games has been arbitrarily excluded, despite meeting the eligibility mark set by the AFI," Bhatt was quoted as saying by the website. “The decision is further illegal as Tejaswin ought to have been granted the exemption he sought as an elite athlete — in parity with the 3 others (Seema Punia, Neeraj Chopra, Avinash Sable) athletes who were given exemption from the inter-state competition on similar grounds. The current national record holder is being arbitrarily excluded at the whims of AFI and this action is absolutely against national interest."
On the other hand, the AFI has claimed that Shankar was not selected because he did not take part in the Inter-State competition and didn’t seek exemption either.
“Mr. Shankar did not want to be selected. Mr. Shankar did not ask to be exempted from the Inter-State Championships. He did not take permission from us before he competed in the USA,” AFI president Adele Sumariwalla had said during a press conference. Meanwhile, Shankar hit back saying that he approached the national coach Radhakrishnan Nair in February seeking exemption.
“Mr. Radhakrishnan had on 11.06.2022 intimated the Petitioner via WhatsApp that he would be considered by the Selection Committee based on his 2.27m jump at the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championship 2022, and repeatedly inquired about the status of the Petitioner’s visa for the CWG 2022," the petition read.
Later in an interview with Sportstar, Shankar said, “It isn’t that the CWG wasn’t in the back of my head. It was in the front of my head. Last time (in 2018) I came sixth. This time I wanted to do better. When I saw that the (qualification) standard was set at 2.27m, my only real goal was to match it. And once that happened I was satisfied because I’d done what I could. The rest is not in my hands so why should I worry,” he said.