The Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) was criticized by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday for its unfair strategy to disqualify the top competitors for the upcoming Asian Games by carrying out its duties in an utterly arbitrary manner.
In a landmark decision, Justice Gaurang Kanth ordered EFI to permit all athletes who participated in selection trials, either in 2021–2022 or 2022–2023, to be selected as probable and attend coaching camps in Europe. The ruling favoured teenage athletes Chirag Khandal, Shashank Singh Kataria, and Yash Nensee who had challenged the EFI's decision to change the selection criteria.
EFI dismissed Minimum Eligibility Requirement earlier which led the youngster to move to court against his federation. The court came down heavily on the federation to reject their argument that the MER of Chirag is valid only for a year since the last trials.
The court noted, "A sportsperson belongs to the field and stadium, not to the corridors of the Courts. The present case seems to have become a David and Goliath contest, where an organization is using all its might to eliminate certain individuals from the competition."
The National Sports Federations have a responsibility to make sure that the selection process is fair and transparent and that all interested parties are informed of the selection criteria well in advance. Any dilution to this process will not only ruin the ambitions of these athletes but every person in this country.
The Court stated that it could only wish each contestant the best of luck at this point and asked the EFI to choose the best team to represent India so that they could realize the aspirations of each and every Indian citizen.