Shakti creates a flutter

Shakti creates a flutter

Even as swimmers from Maharashtra and Karnataka dominated the headlines in the Sub-junior National aquatics, Tamil Nadu’s Shakti Balakrishnan cornered the spotlight for a bizarre reason.

Shakti, who lives in Dubai, won Tamil Nadu’s only gold besides a silver after she was included in the State side at the very last moment. She did not even compete in the Tamil Nadu State meet which served as a selection trials for this meet.

Tamil Nadu State Aquatic Association secretary D Jayaraman said that Shakti was included on a special recommendation by the Swimming Federation of India (SFI).

“We don’t have a provision in our constitution which permits us to name someone who hasn’t attended our selection trial,” he said. “The SFI took a decision allowing her to participate. We get many such requests but we don’t recommend anyone because facilities to train abroad are obviously better than the one we have in India. We have a rule which states a swimmer has to reside in the State for six months in a year if such cases are to be allowed. But this time, the SFI informed us that she would represent TN.”

The SFI general secretary Kamlesh Nanavati dismissed the claim stating that it was the State association that included the swimmer in the squad. “There’s no special consideration here. She participated because her name was included in the squad list the State association sent,” said Nanavati.

“Moreover, we noticed they had named three swimmers in the events this swimmer was to participate. So we informed the team management that if the three qualify for the final, only two will be allowed to race. This is something that the management also agreed to.”

Shakti had turned out for Puducherry at the 2016 meet in Bengaluru.
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