Kochi, July 31 (IANS) The Kerala High Court, which had ordered the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to include Kerala athlete P.U. Chitra in the squad for the World Athletics Championship, adopted a tough stance on Monday after the athlete filed a contempt petition that she has not been selected.
The court asked the AFI for an explanation on why their order was not implemented and how another athlete Sudha Singh was included at a later stage and posted the case for Tuesday.
The court directed the AFI to explain the manner in which Singh (a steeple chase athlete) was able to travel to London when her name did not figure in the national squad which was released on the 24th of this month, which was the last date.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday slammed the AFI for not selecting Chitra and sought a wild card entry for her.
Vijayan’s statement came at a time when the AFI informed the authorities that it is too late to include Chitra.
On Friday, the Kerala High Court had directed the sports body to include her in the squad.
The directive from the court came while hearing a petition after Chitra’s coach N.S. Sijin pointed out that she was eligible for inclusion and she had also qualified.
Kerala State Sports Council President T.P. Dasan told the media in the state capital on Monday that the AFI has displayed sheer arrogance in not taking Chitra along.
“There appears to have been a conspiracy in the selection process and is in no way acceptable,” Dasan said.
Chitra’s parents are daily wage labourers who work on farmlands.
Chitra had won gold in the women’s 1,500 metres event at the Asian Athletics Championships earlier this month, with a time of four minutes and 17.92 seconds.