He endured “a roller-coaster of emotions” after being ignored for the Commonwealth Games but Indian high jumper Tejaswin Shankar says he will “pick up the pieces” and prepare in the best possible way after getting a last-minute entry into the Birmingham event.
National record holder Shankar was on Friday cleared to compete at the July 28 to August 8 Games after the organisers accepted his entry on the request of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), ending a month-long drama surrounding his participation.
The organisers had initially rejected Shankar’s late entry but the IOA has now got confirmation from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and Birmingham CWG organisers about acceptance of his entry after a Delegate Registration Meeting (DRM).
The IOA has informed the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) about the development.
“I am at loss of words, I can’t say now whether I am happy or sad. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions. I can’t believe even now that I have been cleared for the CWG,” Shankar told PTI.
“I can’t say I am surprised or shocked. It has been ‘haan aur naa’ (yes and no), it has been like that for five to six times, so it is hard to believe.”
The 23-year-old won a case after he challenged his exclusion from the Indian athletics team for the CWG at the Delhi High Court. The AFI later told the court that Shankar’s name has been included in the team in place of Arokia Rajiv, who was in the initial 37-member team.
The IOA had made a request to the Birmingham organisers for late inclusion of Shankar but it was rejected on July 7. However, the organisers made a U-turn on Friday and allowed the Delhi high jumper to participate in the quadrennial event.
Shankar, who has returned home from USA where he is studying, will now have to quickly arrange for his visa to be able to reach Birmingham on time. His qualification round is on August 2 and finals are scheduled the next day.
“I returned home from USA two days back to spend some time with my family since there is no competition. I was still having some sort of hope (of taking part in the CWG).
“So, I went to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (in Delhi) to have some training. I did some weight training but as it started raining, I came back home.”
He said he is in good physical shape, despite the mental torture and was doing light training at Kansas in USA.
“My coach told me it is not a 100 per cent case of missing out or taking part (in CWG). Moreover, I can think about some events in August or September if not CWG, so I should keep on training and keep myself fit,” he said.
“So, I was training there (in USA) though not at full steam, so I am in good shape physically.”
His season’s best of 2.27m is in the top five performances among the Commonwealth athletes but Shankar is not thinking about medals yet.
“I have endured a lot and I need to pick up the pieces. I am not thinking about medal or even the competition itself. I can only say that I will give my best at the Games,” Shankar said.
“I have to first complete visa formalities, I have not done anything. Hopefully, it will be done on time.”
Earlier in the day, the IOA informed the AFI about Shankar’s clearance by the CWG organisers.
“Mr Tejaswin Shankar’s entry has been approved by the CGF and accordingly accepted by the Sports Entry Department of Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022 during the DRM (Delegates Registration Meeting),” the IOA wrote.
Shankar had filed a petition at the Delhi High Court challenging the decision of the AFI to exclude him from the team, contending that he reached the qualification guidelines of the AFI by jumping 2.27m at the NCAA Championships in USA, where he is studying.