The Athletics Federation of India has included Tejaswin Shankar for the Commonwealth Games, replacing Arokia Rajiv in the 36-member squad but the high jumper is more relieved than elated.
The AFI made the statement in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, informing Justice Yashwant Varma that the change had been following Rajiv’s disqualification and was directed by the court to forward the name to the Indian Olympic Association, also a party in the case filed by Tejaswin challenging his exclusion despite achieving the qualifying mark set by the AFI.
“The AFI made a statement that Arokia Rajiv (4x400m relay) has been disqualified and Tejaswin Shankar has been included in the 36-member contingent. The Court has directed AFI to send the same forthwith to the IOA and the IOA has been directed to immediately reach out to CWG authorities and intimate about Tejaswin's inclusion,” Tejaswin’s counsel Malak Bhatt told Sportstar .
The case, however, has not been dismissed yet with the court listing it for August 25 “...for considering the issues which were raised by us regarding the discrepancies in AFI's selection process. The Court said these issues will need to be sorted once and for all so that there is no ‘national embarrassment’ in future,” Bhatt added.
The national record holder high jumper, currently in Kansas, said it was a fight only to seek what he deserved as per the AFI rules and he would have been happier if others too had benefited. “We decided on legal recourse only after we felt there was no resolution available from any side. There was never a thought of proving anyone wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion. We only thought in this case, our opinion in terms of team selection was right and had merit.
“I am happy at the decision but I would have been happier if others who had made the cut were also included. After all, if there is a qualifying mark set, then anyone who meets it should get a chance,” Tejaswin told Sportstar .
Interestingly, Rajiv had been initially named as a reserve subject to Amoj Jacob’s fitness. His disqualification, presumably on form after trials in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, doesn’t change the original relay side. Also, with the last date of submission being June 29, the AFI has said it was up to the CWG committee to decide. However, given that it is only a change of entry without increasing the squad size, it shouldn’t be difficult.
Tejaswin, meanwhile, is hoping to complete visa and accreditation formalities in the USA itself. “I stayed back to continue training here and with only three weeks left, it makes sense to fly directly to Birmingham. The last three weeks were hectic and draining and after that I feel anything that comes can only be better. The target now is only a medal there,” he said.
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