Paris Olympics 2024: Plea of Sport Shooter for Selection Trials Participation Dismissed

In a judgment dated May 15, 2024, the Delhi High Court dismissed the plea of Asian Games silver medallist and sport shooter, Manini Kaushik (the petitioner herein), to be permitted to participate in the selection trials for the Paris Olympics 2024.[1]

The criteria for the selection of teams were approved by the Governing Body of respondent no.1, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) in October 2022 and  subsequently amended in November of last year.

While the respondent maintained that the said amendment was carried out to ensure a broader pool of participants, the petitioner contended that such modification amounted to changing the rules of the game after the game had begun. The petitioner added that if she had participated in the 2024 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Final Qualification Championship (Rifle and Pistol), she could have won a quota for herself or could have improved her Qualification Ranking for the Olympic Games (QROG) ranking.

The Court noted that the changes were introduced in good faith and were not perverse. In such circumstances, it was held that the Court could not act as an appellate body over decisions taken by experts. It was also pointed out that the amended criteria itself was not under challenge.

As to the petitioner’s submission regarding participation in the 2024 ISSF Final Qualification Championship Rifle in Rio de Janeiro, the guidelines of the championship were extracted to show that there would’ve been no QROG or ISSF Ranking Points. It followed that the petitioner could not have improved her QROG ranking. Moreover, the maximum quota positions allotted to India in the sport of shooting for the Paris Olympics had been achieved and in light of this, the respondent’s decision to not send athletes to the said championship was considered reasonable.

With these observations, the Court refused to interfere with the respondent’s decision not to select the petitioner for the Olympic Selection Trials.

The Olympic Selection Trials, held in four phases, concluded shortly after the judgment was pronounced, on May 19. The appeal challenging the decision of the Single Judge Bench came to be dismissed on May 24.

[1] Manini Kaushik v. the National Rifle Association of India & Ors. [WP(C) 5438/2024]