The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) told the Delhi High Court on Friday that five additional athletes including high jump national record holder Tejaswin Shankar had been provisionally selected in the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games subject to approval by the Indian Olympic Association.
Shankar, the Indian National record holder in the high jump had earlier approached the court on Monday after he had not been selected for the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games despite meeting the AFI’s qualification standard for the same competition.
Although Tejaswin had met the AFI’s qualification standard of 2.27m in the high jump, he had been excluded ostensibly since he made the mark at the NCAA Championships and not the Inter-State Championship that the AFI had declared mandatory.
AFI counsel Parth Goswami informed the Court that following a selection committee meeting on Wednesday five additional athletes, all of whom had met the AFI’s qualification standard, had been selected for the Commonwealth Games in addition to an initial list of 36 who had been named last week.
Apart from Tejaswin, the AFI also included marathon runners Srinu Bugatha and Anish Magar Thapa, Asian Games gold medal winning heptathlete Swapna Barman and 100m runner M. V. Jilna. All of them had met or done better than the qualification standard set by the AFI.
Increase in quota needed
However, Goswami had informed the court that addition of five athletes was subject to the increase of quota allotted to the Athletics Federation by the IOA. The IOA had originally allotted a quota of 36 athletes who could be selected by the AFI. However the AFI counsel stated that should the IOA not increase the quota allotted to the AFI, then only the original 36 athletes selected on the 16th of June would be selected.
The court in turn said that it was hopeful that the IOA would increase the AFI quota and would send all five additionally selected athletes. “The AFI has said that it is actively pursuing with the Indian Olympic Association for increasing the quota,” said Malak Dutta, counsel for Tejaswin.
“The court has observed that it hopes IOA to consider this positively and allow the best participation for the Commonwealth Games. We hope that the IOA takes a decision in the best sporting interest of the country and increases the quota to include medal prospects like Tejaswin,” Datta added.
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