The Yachting Association of India (YAI) is set to hold a regatta to break the stand-off between two warring sailors - Varsha Gautham and Ekta Yadav - over a place in India’s Asian Games squad for 49er FX team.
With the two warring parties filing counter petitions in Delhi High Court, the YAI and Indian Olympic Association were at odds as they were both backing the opposites number. However, on Tuesday, there appeared to be a thaw as the YAI suggested a fresh regatta to break the impasse. All parties have accepted the solution in principle.
“The regatta will be held in Jakarta in two-three weeks. Whoever wins will make the final list,” said Captain Ajay Narang, who is a senior official YAI.
The Court is set to hold another hearing on Wednesday to finalise the finer points including taking a call on who bears the cost - the IOA or the YAI.
Narang further said that the YAI intends to make the regatta open to other contenders as well and does not want to restrict the trial to just the warring duo.
The stand-off stems from a botched up selection process conducted by the YAI and the IOA’s premature announcement of the final squad. The YAI had picked Ekta and her crew member Shaila Charis to represent India in Indonesia, even as Varsha and partner Sweta Shervegar were left out of the team.
Ekta and Shaila had won bronze at the Asian Sailing Championship (ASC), while Varsha and Sweta had finished ahead of their compatriots to win silver. The superior medal should have been enough to secure a berth for Varsha and Sweta, but the other two had topped the trials in Chennai and the YAI’s selection committee decided to pick the former pair.
Varsha soon filed a petition in Court citing an arbitrary selection procedure. The Indian Olympic Association, after being apprised of the situation, recommended the names of Varsha and Sweta pending the judgment of the Delhi HC.
The case was disposed off on July 7, with Justice Vibhu Bakhru stated that “this court is certainly not equipped to evaluate the merits of their decision and the same is beyond the scope of judicial review.”
The Court further stated that it could not interfere in the selection matters of the YAI.
However, IOA on July 7 named Varsha and Sweta’s as the official entry.
“We have named Varsha and Shweta in place of Ekta and Shaila. Varsha and Shweta are silver medallists in the Asian Championships while Ekta and Saila are bronze medallists,” IOA chief Narinder Batra had said then.
Left aggrieved by the premature announcement, Ekta also has approached the Court seeking redressal. The case came up for hearing on Monday. However, the IOA’s counsel could not attend it and the matter was postponed for another date.
YAI has so far stuck with their stand that the selection process was conducted in a fair and transparent manner.