Despite the Delhi High Court’s ruling ending up in his favour, and the Athletics Federation of India announcing their intention to include him the athletics squad, high jumper Tejaswin Shankar is set to miss out from competing at the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Birmingham from July 28.
The CWG organisers have informed the Indian Olympic Association that late athlete replacements will only be permitted in the same events in which the original athlete was entered, reported Press Trust of India, adding that it is not a tool to replace athlete selection beyond the deadline.
That becomes a problem for Tejaswin since the athlete he was said to be replacing was runner Arokia Rajiv. On Wednesday, AFI had said that they replaced Arokia with Tejaswin Shankar in the Indian team, requesting the IOA to make the necessary change.
“We have requested the Indian Olympic Association to replace Arokia Rajiv, who withdrew from the National Inter-State Athletics Championships due to illness, with Tejaswin Shankar,” AFI President Adille Sumariwalla had said in a statement.
“We continue to request IOA to increase the quota for athletics so that others who have met the qualifying standards can also compete in CWG.”
But the IOA learnt on Thursday that the replacement is not going to be feasible.
“Unfortunately, as this falls under a disqualification rather than a Medical Circumstance, this request will not be able to be approved,” the letter from the CWG organisers said, according to the PTI report.
“We had sent Tejaswin’s name yesterday, but we received a response last night (Wednesday) from the Commonwealth Games organisers that his name was not accepted,” IOA general secretary Rajeev Mehta told Sportstar. “According to the rules, only a like-for-like replacement is permissible. So if we have withdrawn an athlete in one particular event, the replacement has to be in the same event.”
On Wednesday, Tejaswin had tweeted a thank you note as he thought he would now be able to represent India at the Games.
Taking to Twitter, Tejaswin had said: “Big Thanks to the twitter fam. Last 3 weeks have been a sleepless roller coaster & to finally get an opportunity to rep India at CWG 2022 is nothing short of a blessing. I have received lots of love but my heart goes out to mates who were equally deserving & missed.”
The high jump national record holder had taken the AFI to court after the athletics body left him out of the CWG squad despite making the cut-off mark set by the federation.
AFI president Sumariwalla justified the decision saying that Shankar had not requested to be exempted from the Inter-State meet, which doubled up as trials for the CWG, and had also not asked for permission to compete in the US. In the US event, the high-jumper had cleared 2.27m, just short of the national record of 2.29m.