Tejaswin selection: AFI passes the buck to IOA

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The responsibility of including high jumper Tejaswin Shankar in the Commonwealth Games squad has now been passed on to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Friday told the Delhi High Court that it was bound by the quota allocated by the Indian Olympic Association. AFI counsel Parth Goswami informed the court that the federation selection committee on June 22 had met and selected five additional athletes, including Tejaswin, for the CWG subject to an increase of quota by the IOA.

Next hearing on July 4

“The court is hopeful that the Olympic association would increase the Athletics Federation of India’s quota for participation in the CWG so that all five additionally selected athletes (including Tejaswin Shankar) are included in the contingent,” Justice Jasmeet Singh dictated in his order and posted the next hearing on July 4.

“The AFI orally was in agreement that Tejaswin may be a medal prospect and told the court that it had already made a representation to the IOA to increase its quota. We had also petitioned to implead the IOA in the case and that was allowed by the court. The matter is now in the IOA’s hands,” Tejaswin’s lawyer Malak Bhatt said. The court has not given any further directions to the AFI in the matter, indicating that the final call was to be taken by the IOA.

Bhatt added that since there was no clear explanation in the public domain on the criteria for quota allocation to various sports, it was now up to IOA to explain the numbers and find a way. The AFI, however, also made it clear that in case the IOA didn’t increase the numbers, the list of previously selected 36 athletes would be final.

Yet to qualify

Interestingly, six of those selected are yet to qualify and will have to do so either at the XXXI Qosanov Memorial in Kazakhstan or the training camp in California before being confirmed for CWG even as the likes of marathoners Srinu Bugatha and Anish Thapa, heptathlete Swapna Barman are all still under consideration despite having achieved the AFI qualification mark.

Long jumper Jeswin Aldrin, javelin thrower Yashvir Singh and triple jumper Karthik Unnikrishnan are the others who have been dropped for poor performance despite qualifying. Also, M.V. Jilna, initially part of the 4x100m relay team, has been dropped to adhere to the 36-limit.

IOA officials refused to comment on the matter explaining they had only been impleaded now and would have to look into the details.

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