CHENNAI : The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has recommended Varsha Gautham and Sweta Shervegar’s name to be included in the Asian Games sailing squad to the Delhi High Court after the pair was initially left out by the Yachting Association of India (YAI). Varsha and Sweta had won silver at the Asian Sailing Championship (ASC) in Jakarta which was enough to secure qualification according to the YAI selection policy, which states: “The results of Indian athletes/teams at ASC will be provided to the internal and external selectors so as to select the best athletes/teams to represent India at the Asian Games.” But there was a rider.
“YAI reserves the sole right to interpret this document and to use its discretion in the resolution of the matter in conflict or dispute.” However, Ekta Yadav and Shaila Charls, who won bronze at the ASC, were selected after they topped trials in Chennai in April. But Varsha filed a petition at the Delhi High Court last Monday, seeking help. Two hearings had happened on Wednesday and Friday and the HC will give out a final order on Monday.
“As per HC directive, we have recommended the names of Varsha and Swetha,” said a top IOA official. The IOA has considered the ASC result, as that was one of the criteria. The selection is subject to court order. Meanwhile, Varhsa’s father Gautham Padmanabhan, expressed relief. “After what we have been through, this is great news. I hope the court order of Monday turns out to be positive,” he said.
YAI official Captain Ajay Narang also said the decision was not biased. “We had said that the results of the selection trials in Chennai will be taken into account and Ekta and Shaila came out on top there. If I would have not recommended their names, they would have gone to the court.”