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Pallikal fails to get court reprieve

February 12, 2008 19:30 IST

Squash player Dipika Pallikal, who was not selected for the upcoming Asian Championship, failed to get a reprieve from the Delhi high court, which she had moved to quash the selection of the Indian team.

Justice Gita Mittal declined the plea of Pallikal's counsel that the selected team, which comprises players ranked lower than her, be disallowed from playing in the championship, which commences tomorrow in Kuwait.

At this point, we cannot pass such an order. First the response to the reply filed by the federation justifying the omission should be brought on record, the court said.

The bench, on February 8, sought responses from the Sports Authority of India and the Squash Racquets Federation of India (SRFI) asking why the 16-year-old Pallikal was not selected for the championship.

Senior advocate Arun Jaitley, appearing for the federation, said, "Nobody is against her. She would have been selected if the medical team of the federation had declared her fit."

Pallikal arrived late for the pre-tournament camp in Chennai and failed to produce any fitness certificate, Jaitley said, adding since it is an international tournament unfit players cannot be allowed to represent the country.

"She is a top player, but it does not mean that she will not comply with the norms of the federation," he said.

Countering the contention, Pallikal's counsel, Roma Bhagat, said she had sent an e-mail to the SRFI requesting exemption from the camp on the grounds that she sustained a back injury while training with her Egyptian coach.

It was alleged that Pallikal, who is ranked 62 by the Women's International Squash Professional Association (WISPA), was overlooked and lower-ranked players like Surbhi Mishra (156th), Anwesha Reddy (124th) and unranked Hari Omprakash were picked ahead of her in the squad.

The court asked Pallikal to file a reply to the contentions of the federation, justifying her omission from the national squash team, and fixed the case on February 20 for further hearing.

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