KOCHI: Athlete P U Chitra’s dream to do what she does best seems likely to be dashed. Even as the state government and the High Court have thrown their weight behind Chitra, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is planning to challenge the interim order before the HC Division Bench.
Earlier, a Single Judge had directed the AFI to ensure the participation of Chitra in the 1,500-m race at the IAAF World Championships to be held in London from August 4. An AFI insider said, as the Single Judge had passed its order on a writ petition, the only remedy is to file an appeal before the HC Division Bench. A team of lawyers from Delhi will represent the AFI. The Federation collected all documents and the Single Judge’s order from the High Court on Friday itself.
The AFI sought time to file an affidavit in the case, but the court passed the interim order on Friday. According to the AFI, there are three qualification criteria- A, B and C for participation in IAAF.
The athletes included in the A category will automatically qualify for the championship once they attain the prescribed criteria stipulated for the particular segment. Chitra falls under the B category. The AFI had communicated to all the athletes who qualified in the category they will have to improve their performance in Guntur Inter-State Athletic Championship to get a selection in the Indian team for the World Championships.
The AFI did not include Chitra since she did not meet the qualifying standards. Her performance dropped significantly after the Asian Athletic Championships and her timing was below par compared to that of the Indian junior national record timing. The performance at Guntur was almost 10 seconds below her time in the Asian Championships and finished second in the meet. Even Chitra’s best performance so far is much below the entry standard.
The Federation is set to argue the date for sending athlete/team for the world championship had expired on July 24 and it was difficult to get a wild card entry for Chitra to participate in the event. It will be pointed out the Indian team for the championship has already left for the event. The AFI will inform the Division Bench the Single Judge passed the interim order without hearing their arguments.