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Excluded from CWG squad, high jumper Tejaswin Shankar moves Delhi HC against AFI

Not included in the 37-member CWG Indian athletics team despite meeting the qualification mark, high jumper Tejaswin Shankar has taken AFI to Delhi High Court and filed a writ petition.

Tejaswin Shankar (Source: TrackTown USA/Twitter)

Tejaswin Shankar had initially been left out of the CWG squad because he had not competed in India (Kansas State University)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 22 Jun 2022 7:30 AM GMT

Shocked and surprised by how the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) did not include his name on the squad list for the upcoming Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022, star high jump athlete Tejaswin Shankar has taken AFI to the court, days after he was excluded.

Even though Tejaswin is the only high jumper to achieve the qualifying standard of 2.27m, he hasn't been kept on the squad by the AFI and therefore, Shankar has moved Delhi High court and filed a writ petition, as reported by The Indian Express.

The writ petition has been listed for hearing today and it mentions how Tejaswin's exclusion is "arbitrary", posing him as a medal contender as the CWG will see "only two high jumpers (Hamish Kerr and Django Lovett ) who will prospectively be competing at the CWG 2022 have a better jump than him this year."

Participating in the NCAA championship last week, representing the Kansan State University, Tejaswin won the event with a best jump of 2.27m at Eugene, Oregon, the same place where the World Championships will also be held.

"A potential medal contender for the CWG Games has been arbitrarily excluded, despite meeting the eligibility mark set by the AFI. The decision is further illegal as Tejaswin ought to have been granted the exemption he sought as an elite athlete — in parity with the 3 others (Seema Punia, Neeraj Chopra, Avinash Sable) athletes who were given exemption from the inter-state competition on similar grounds. The current national record holder is being arbitrarily excluded at the whims of AFI and this action is absolutely against national interest," advocate Malak Bhatt, who will be representing Tejaswin conveyed to The Indian Express.

Not only Tejaswin, but the AFI has also similarly left out long jumper Jeswin Aldrin from the team, even though he has also met the qualification standard of 8m. Initially, Tejaswin wanted a trial to take place in California where the Indian team will be present for the World Championships but that plea hasn't been granted, which is why he has now moved the court with a writ petition.

When the AFI released its 37-member squad for the Commonwealth Games last week, AFI president Adille Sumariwalla mentioned that Tejaswin had not applied for an exemption from participating in the Inter-State Championships, as Neeraj, Seema and Avinash Sable had done.

"It was clearly mentioned on the website this was the last event where one could try to register the qualification standard for the CWG and Worlds. Tejaswin did not want to be selected. Mr Shankar did not ask to be exempted from the Inter-State Championships. He did not take permission from us before he competed in the USA," AFI president Adille Sumariwalla had told reporters.

However, this is a point of conflict as Tejaswin's petition claims that he approached the chief national coach Radhakrishnan Nair in February seeking exemption from the Interstate meet as it clashed with the NCAA championships in the US.

Tejaswin's first hearing is scheduled to take place on 22nd June.

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