Sameeha Barwin left out of World Deaf Athletics Championships

Long jumper Sameeha Barwin has alleged that the All India Sports Council of the Deaf has ignored her good performance in the selection trials to deny her an opportunity to represent India in the World Deaf Athletics Championships.

ATHLETICS TRACK

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: Sameeha Barwin, a resident of Kanyakumari, was the lone woman athlete to make the cut at the trials.   -  M. Srinath

Eighteen-year-old long jumper Sameeha Barwin has alleged that the All India Sports Council of the Deaf (AISCD) has ignored her good performance in the All-India selection trials to deny her an opportunity to represent India in the World Deaf Athletics Championships. 

The Championships will be held in Lublin, Poland, from August 23 to 28. 

According to Padmini Chennapragada, a disability sports researcher, Barwin was not selected for the World Championships despite jumping 5m (the qualifying mark of 4.25m is set by AISCD) at the All-India selection trials in New Delhi last month.

It is learnt that the Kanyakumari Member of Parliament V. Vijaykumar took up the case with the Union Sports Ministry, and he was reportedly told that since the deadline for sending the entries for the Worlds (July 27) was long gone, nothing could be done. 

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Since Barwin, a resident of Kanyakumari, was the lone woman athlete to make the cut at the trials, the authorities, Padmini was told, weren’t keen to take her to Poland.  

“What we want is transparency and justice for the athlete and her mother. And we want the National Federation and Union Sports Ministry to give us a reply in writing,” Padmini told Sportstar.

Satnam Singh, a member of the Selection Committee and the chief coach of the AISCD, defended the exclusion of Barvin. “We were asked to select the five best [male] athletes for Worlds and Barwin’s wasn’t up to the mark,” said Satnam.

According to Satnam, the qualifying mark set by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) is 5m for long jump and Barvin reached the mark; yet, the selection committee felt it was not enough. “In fact, it was not just Barvin who was excluded, we didn’t include a female discus thrower and a male high jumper even though they made the cut. We felt that their standards weren't good enough. The five selected did much more than the qualifying marks set by ICSD,” said Satnam. 

The team leaves for Poland on August 14.

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