In the court proceeding, the bench, headed by Justice Jaspreet Singh, stated that the AFI selection committee should reconsider the high jumper for the CWF squad as India have no representation from the discipline while Tejaswin is one of the best contenders for that spot
Delhi High Court urged the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to consider high jumper Tejaswin Shankar for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The 24-year-old national record holder moved court after being ignored despite meeting the criteria.
The bench, headed by Justice Jasmeet Singh, stated that the AFI selection committee should reconsider the high jumper for the CWG squad as India have no representation from the discipline while Tejaswin is one of the best contenders for that spot.
“The court was very progressive today as it said if Tejaswin is a medal prospect then its in the national interest he should be added to the CWG squad,” Tejaswin’s legal representative, advocate Malak Bhatt, told Firstpost after the court proceedings lasted close to 20 minutes on Wednesday afternoon.
The jumper, who studies at the Kansas University in the USA, made a strong case for himself as he breached the CWG qualification mark of 2.25 metre with his season-best jump of 2.27m at the prestigious NCAA Track and Field Championships in Oregon on 10 June, days ahead of the AFI’s squad announcement.
He is among the medal contenders in Birmingham as far as the season-best performance goes – behind only New Zealand’s Hamish Kerr (2.31m) and Canada’s Django Lovett (2.28m). Tejaswin’s personal best is also a 2.29m national record, set in 2018.
AFI denied his selection saying Tejaswin neither asked to be selected for CWG nor asked for an exemption from the National Inter-State Championships, which was deemed as the last qualifying event for CWG. AFI gave exemptions to three of their national campers from the event in Neeraj Chopra (training in Europe), Avinash Sable (training in USA), and Seema Antil Punia.
However, Tejaswin countered those claims in his writ petition stating that he approached AFI’s chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair over Whatsapp for an exemption from the Inter-States (June 10-15 in Chennai) as it clashed with the dates of NCAA Track and Field Championships.
“The court had taken note of our submission on three points. No. 1, Tejaswin remains to be a medal contender at the CWG as there are only two rivals who have jumped better than him this year. No. 2, he has met the qualification mark set by the AFI itself. No. 3 , he had asked for an exemption from the Inter-States in February itself as he was participating in a US event at that time,” Bhatt said.
AFI’s legal representative orally acknowledged that Tejaswin is one of the best athletes in the category but claimed his name was not included because there was a limited quota of 36 athletes granted by the Indian Olympics Association (IOA).
Noting submissions from both parties, the court urged AFI to reconsider Tejaswin for the squad and set the next hearing date for Friday.
AFI selection committee are later slated for a meeting on Wednesday.