Delhi High Court to Announce Verdict on July 22: Phogat and Punia Exempted from Asian Games Trials
In a recent development, the Delhi High Court has taken up a crucial case that revolves around the exemption granted to esteemed wrestlers, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, from the Asian Games trials. The court proceedings were conducted on July 21, and Justice Subramonium Prasad has reserved the verdict for July 22. The case was brought forward by Under-20 World Champion Antim Panghal and Under-23 Asian Champion Sujeet Kalkal, who have challenged the direct entry given to Phogat and Punia.
During the proceedings, Justice Subramonium Prasad emphasized that the primary objective is not to determine who the better wrestler is, but rather to examine whether due process has been followed in granting the exemption to the athletes. This stance sets the tone for an impartial and fair examination of the matter.
Vinesh Phogat, a prominent wrestler in the 53kg category, and Bajrang Punia, an accomplished athlete in the 65kg category, were given direct entries for the upcoming Asian Games. This decision was made by the Indian Olympic Association’s ad-hoc committee on a Tuesday, while the other wrestlers have to compete in the selection trials scheduled for July 22 and 23.
The Challenge and Demands
Antim Panghal and Sujeet Kalkal challenged the exemption granted to Phogat and Punia and requested a more equitable selection process for the prestigious quadrennial event. The legal petition, presented by advocates Hrishikesh Baruah and Akshay Kumar, urges the court to quash the directive issued by the IOA ad-hoc committee regarding the two specific categories: men’s free style 65kg and women’s 53kg. The petition further demands that the exemption bestowed upon Phogat and Punia be set aside.
Assailing the Decision
Advocate Hrishikesh Baruah critically questioned the decision on various grounds, one of them being that the general body of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had withdrawn the provision for exempting sportspersons in August 2022. This crucial point raises concerns about the legitimacy of the exemption and calls for a thorough evaluation of the decision-making process.
On the other hand, the counsel representing the ad-hoc panel responsible for overseeing the affairs of the WFI refuted the claim and stated that there was no record of such a withdrawal in the files. The Delhi High Court, in response, has instructed him to submit an affidavit supporting his stance.
During the proceedings, the Delhi High Court directed the ad-hoc panel running the affairs of the WFI to present the reasons behind exempting Phogat and Punia from the Asian Games trials. The court has expressed the need for a clear understanding of the rationale behind this decision, further signaling the court’s intention to scrutinize the matter thoroughly.
The outcome of this case can have far-reaching consequences on the future selection process of athletes for major sporting events in India. A transparent and fair evaluation of the exemption granted to Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia is vital in upholding the integrity of the sporting system and ensuring equal opportunities for all athletes.
The Quest for Fairness in Sports Selection
The upcoming verdict by the Delhi High Court on the exemption granted to Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia from Asian Games trials has sparked intense discussions about fairness in sports selection. As we await the court’s decision, it is crucial to recognize the significance of transparent and just procedures in determining athletes’ participation in prestigious events.
Athletes like Antim Panghal and Sujeet Kalkal, who have challenged the direct entry given to Phogat and Punia, highlight the need for a level playing field. The court’s inquiry into the exemption process aims to uphold the integrity of Indian sports and ensure that opportunities are accessible to all deserving contenders.
The Delhi High Court’s impending verdict on the exemption granted to Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia from Asian Games trials has captured the attention of the sporting community and fans alike. As the court reserves the judgment, the implications of its decision reverberate throughout the nation’s sporting landscape. This case serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding fairness and integrity in sports, as athletes strive to represent their country on the grandest stages.