(Eds: Updating with details of court order)Kochi, Jul 28 (PTI) The Kerala High Court today directed the central government and Athletic Federation of India (AFI) to ensure participation of P U Chitra at the World Athletics Championships in London next month. Justice P B Suresh Kumar, in an interim order, directed the government, AFI and Sports Authority of India (SAI) to make all arrangements to ensure that Chitra participates in the 1,500 Metres race at the IAAF world championship. The court also observed that the selection process for the championship appears to be not transparent and qualified athletes were ignored. The material on record disclosed that the petitioner has been sidelined and discriminated, it observed. Opportunities of the instant nature would come in the way of an athlete only once in a lifetime and if they miss the chance they may not get it again, it said. “It is seen that many persons who are nowhere close to the standards fixed for the IAAF world championship have been included in the Indian team,” the court said. It observed that participation in the championship at Guntur was not the criteria for participating in the selection process and the performance there was only a ruse to exclude the petitioner and similarly placed athletes. At any rate it cannot be said that the procedure adopted for selection was fair, it said. If participation in the Guntur championship was mandatory for participating in the selection process for IAAF world championship, persons who have not participated in it should not have been selected, the Court said. The case will be considered on Monday for detailed hearing. The court had yesterday sought an explanation from the central government on the exclusion of the Kerala athlete from the Indian squad for the championships.advertisementHearing Chitras petition against the decision by the AFI, Justice Suresh Kumar had asked the Centre to inform the source of funding for international events. Chitra, who had recently won a gold in the womens 1,500m event in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneshwar, filed the petition after she was excluded from the Indian squad by the Federation. In her plea, she said her gold medal performance at the Asian Athletics Championships made her an automatic pick for the World Championships. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had backed Chitra and said in a Facebook post that excluding the athlete, who was the “pride not only of Kerala, but also the country, from the team for World Athletics Championship, is condemnable”. Former national champion P T Usha had said that Chitra had not been included in the team as she did not meet the qualifying mark set by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). PTI COR TGB APR GSN
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Out-of-favour Pakistan batsman Imran Farhat has lashed out at Shahid Afridi, saying the former all-rounder was a “selfish player” who ruined many careers for his own good.Afridi has raised many eyebrows with his latest autobiography titled “Game Changer”. Be it his views on Kashmir and 2010 spot-fixing scandal or his age revelation, Afridi has been creating headlines ever since his autobiography got released.He has criticised many former players, including Javed Miandad, Waqar Younis and Gautam Gambhir in the book which is co-authored by journalist Wajahat S. Khan.In a series of tweets, Farhat said he was ashamed to know that Afridi, who lied for 20 years about his age, is naming and blaming some of the legendary cricketers of Pakistan.”I am utterly ashamed from what I have heard and read so far regarding this new book of Afridi, someone who has lied about his age for 20 odd years now decides to come clean and name and blame some of our living legends,” said the 36-year-old.”I have a lot of stories to tell regarding this so called Saint we have had the pleasure of playing with. He sure is talented enough to become a politician,” he added.Farhat, who played 40 Tests and 58 ODIs for Pakistan, also urged the cricketers who have been named and shamed in Afridi’s book to “speak up and tell the truth”.”I have a fair few stories to tell and I urge all the players who have been named and shamed to speak up and tell the truth about this selfish player who has ruined plenty of careers for his own good,” said Farhat.advertisementMeanwhile, a petition has been filed in a Pakistan court to stop further publication of his book.Also Watch: