Kerala CM: ‘Excluding Chitra from Indian squad unacceptable’

The state government will take up the matter with the Centre, the chief minister said, adding it would extend full support to Chitra.

Before the London event, Chitra won the 1,500m gold medal at the Asian Championships.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today backed state athlete P U Chitra, who was excluded from the Indian team for next month’s World Championships, despite qualifying for the mega event.

Before the London event, Chitra won the 1,500m gold medal at the Asian Championships.

“Excluding Chitra, pride of not only of Kerala but also of the country, from the team for World Athletics Championship is condemnable,” Vijayan said in a Facebook post.

“Neglect shown to the athlete cannot be justified,” he added.

The state government will take up the matter with the Centre, the chief minister said, adding it would extend full support to Chitra.

The move to destroy the aspirations of Kerala’s sports personalities should be discouraged, he said.

Besides Chitra, top Indian 3000m steeplechaser Sudha Singh and Ajoy Kumar Saroj (men’s 1500m) were also left out of the 24-member squad announced by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Sunday.

They were ignored despite qualifying for the event by winning the gold medals in their respective events in the July 6-9 Asian Championships at Bhubaneswar.

AFI selection committee chairman Gurbachan Singh Randhawa had said the performance of the three in the Asian Championships (and their season’s best) were well below the World Championships qualifying standards.

“We have not named some athletes who have won gold in Asian Championships because their performances were well below the IAAF World Championships qualifying standards,” he had said.

The World Championships will be held in London from August 4 to 13.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

Read the Free eBook