Uttar Pradesh athletes threaten fast over Asiad snubJuly 15, 2018
The Athletics Federation of India’s (AFI) selection of the 4x400m relay squad for the Asian Games has run into a controversy. UP sprinters Prachi and Chhavi Sharawat, who finished third and fourth respectively at the Interstate Championship in Guwahati which was an Asiad qualifier, on Saturday alleged the AFI has overlooked their credentials while picking the relay team.
The two sprinters have threatened to sit on an indefinite strike outside the Shastri Bhawan, which houses the sports ministry, here from Monday and even drag the AFI to the High Court by filing a writ petition on July 20.
Prachi won bronze in the 400m final with a timing of 52.96s while Chhavi came fourth after clocking 53.22s in Guwahati.
The AFI has named Saritaben Gayakwad, M R Poovamma and Sonia Baishya, who finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively in the eight-woman final at Guwahati, in the relay squad ahead of them. The other three named in the six-member team are Vijayakumari, Vismaya V K and Jisna Mathew. Jauna Murmu, too, competed in the 400m run to finish fifth, but according to the AFI, she has been named to compete in the 400m hurdles along with Anu Raghavan.
Hima Das and Nirmala Sheoran will run the 400m at the Asiad by the virtue of finishing one and two at the Guwahati meet. Now, according to the AFI’s relay rules, any four of the above-mentioned 10 names can participate in the relay, except for Murmu, Raghavan and Sheoran, the reason being that they were not part of the national camp.
But, here’s where Prachi and Chhavi have a valid grouse.
AFI has, in its circular last October, stated that only national campers will be considered for selection in the relay squad for the CWG and Asiad. Based on this, the AFI has rejected the claims of Prachi and Chhavi since both of them are not part of the camp. “But what about Vijayakumari who is not part of the camp? How come she has been included in the relay squad? Same criteria should also apply to her,” reasoned Chhavi.
TOI has found out that Vijayakumari wasn’t part of the camp prior to the Gold Coast CWG which led to her non-inclusion for the CWG. Moreover, she didn’t even qualify for the 400m final at the Guwahati meet.
“She gave a written undertaking before the CWG that she will join the camp. She was busy with her B.Com exams. She was expected to join the camp in Poland, but she didn’t join. Later, the AFI told her to train privately with her coach in Bengaluru,” informed an AFI office-bearer.
But, Chhavi is in no mood to relent. “Is she appearing in exams since March? She has been allowed to train privately, so should we as well. She didn’t qualify for 400m final.”