The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rejected the Athletics Federation of India’s (AFI) request to include PU Chitra in the Indian squad for the upcoming World Athletics Championships, ending drama around her participation in the prestigious event.
The AFI had on Saturday requested the IAAF to consider Chitra’s case after Sports minister Vijay Goel asked the national federation to honour the Kerala High Court directive.
“We did what we could. We did what is within our powers. But the IAAF has rejected our request. We cannot do anything. That (rejection) was their discretion and they must have done it taking into account relevant rules,” an AFI official said.
Earlier, Sports Minister Vijay Goel advised the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to honour the Kerala High Court directive to ensure P U Chitra’s her participation in the upcoming IAAF World Championships.
The Kerala High Court directed the central government to ensure participation of Chitra in the World Athletics Championships in London next month. A statement from the sports ministry said that Goel talked to AFI President Adille Sumariwalla on the issue and advised him not to contest the directive given by the Kerala High Court as P U Chitra is otherwise a wild card entry for the World Championship.
Chitra recently won a gold in the women’s 1500m event in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneshwar. When she was excluded from the Indian squad a writ petition was filed at the High Court.
In her petition, Chitra said her gold medal performance at the Asian Athletics Championships made her an automatic pick for the World Championships. The court also observed that the selection process for the championship appears to be not transparent and qualified athletes were ignored.
The Kerala High Court directed the central government to ensure the participation of PU Chitra in the World Athletics Championships in London next month. Justice PB Suresh Kumar, in an interim order, directed the government to make all arrangements to see that Chitra participates in the event.
The court had on Thursday sought an explanation from the central government on the exclusion of the Kerala athlete from the Indian squad for the championships. Hearing Chitra’s petition against the decision by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), Justice Suresh Kumar had asked the Centre to inform the source of funding for international events.
Former national champion P T Usha had said that Chitra had not been included in the team as she did not meet the qualifying mark set by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
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