A day after the Kerala High Court asked the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to include Kerala athlete Anu Raghavan in the Indian 4x400m women's relay squad for the upcoming Rio Olympics, the athlete says she still cannot grasp why she was omitted from the team.
She was a member of the Indian relay team at last year's World Championships in Beijing and the Asian meet in Wuhan, China.
Anu decided to seek legal resort after she was excluded from the Olympic squad, despite having a better performance record this season than Karnataka's Ashwini Akkunji, who found a place in the team. However, AFI said in court that the last date for inclusion of athletes had already passed.
Ashwini returned to the mainstream in 2014 after she was banned in 2011 for being tested positive for steroids.
Speaking to The News Minute, Anu questioned the authenticity of AFI's response. "The AFI said in their defense that the last date of inclusion is over. But I wonder how true that is. You should also understand that all this is happening at a time when the Wrestling Federation of India has backed Narsingh Yadav. So it is not like the AFI can't do something to include me," she said.
She says that the AFI stated that Ashwini's experience is the criterion for her selection. "But they are defending her with her performance record from six years back," Anu claims.
Recalling an incident from November last year, Anu says that she received an e-mail from AFI asking her to take part in a national camp. Any athlete who fails to attend the camp would not be considered for Olympics, the email stated.
A post-graduate student, Anu pointed out that she would not be able to take part since her education would be affected. However, the AFI did not get back to her, Anu says.
The court has posted the case for August 5, but efforts are underway to expedite the hearing, she says. She believes that there's still hope.