The Delhi High Court on Friday appointed the secretary of Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs as one-man panel for reviewing the selection of sports persons to represent India in Taekwondo in the upcoming 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru said the decision of the secretary on the selection process shall be considered final and would not be contested. The court also asked the secretary to consider the case of six Taekwondo players, who have moved court, and other sportspersons who might approach him.
Two women and four men Taekwondo players have approached the High Court seeking direction to the Union Ministry of Sports and other authorities to include their names in the list of players who would represent India in the Asian Games.
The petitions claimed that selection of the sports persons has not been conducted in a manner it should have been done, and the concerned National Sports Federation has been suspended and the Indian Olympic Association has not held any trials.
They sought direction to the Sports Authority of India to conduct the selection trials for Taekwondo players, and to the Sports Ministry to allow the selected players to participate and represent the country in the Asian Games to be held from August 18 to September 2.
Advocate Saurabh Jain, appearing for two players – Purva Dattatray Dixit and Kashish Malik – said there was no representation from India for Taekwondo (Kyurogi) in all categories and since the two women were the top ranking players in their respective categories, they should be sent to represent the country in the Asian Games.
The court noted it was apparent that there were several other players placed higher in the ranking in Taekwondo and have not been considered,and it appeared that it was not feasible to now conduct any trials.
Examine the selection process
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya said the secretary of Sports ministry shall examine the petitions and the process adopted for selection of the Indian contingent, and take a comprehensive view.
The court said, “Accordingly, the secretary, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs is appointed by this court to act as a one-man committee for reviewing the selection of the sports persons to represent India in the sport of Taekwondo”.
It said the secretary shall consider the matter expeditiously within two days and granted liberty to the players to appear before him on Friday. The court clarified that this order was passed in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the cases as the necessary process for selection has not been carried out, and the IOA has also failed to select the requisite number of participants.
It said the order was passed in the “larger interest of the nation to ensure that the best team represent this country in the sport of Taekwondo”. When the counsel for IOA objected to the secretary deciding the matter, the judge said the contention was “wholly unmerited” and it was clear that the IOA had failed in its function to ensure that proper selection was made and must bear the responsibility of its failure.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on July 30. According to the petition, 24-year-old Dixit is a Kyorugi Taekwondo player for “under 49 kg” in senior category (female) and has participated in various national and international events since 2010, and has secured several medals, including four gold medals in international events.
Eighteen-year-old Malik is a Kyorugi Taekwondo player for “under 57 kg” in senior category (female) and has participated in various national and international events since 2015 and bagged several medals, including two gold and a silver in international events, the petition added.