CWG shooting row: CGF boss to meet Indian officials
Birmingham organisers dropped shooting from the list of sports in June on grounds that they could not find a suitable venue to stage the events.Updated: Nov 14, 2019 10:42 IST
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is expected to drive a hard bargain for the inclusion of shooting in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games when its officials meet the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Louise Martin—in Delhi to resolve the issue—on Thursday.
Birmingham organisers dropped shooting from the list of sports in June on grounds that they could not find a suitable venue to stage the events. It was also possible because shooting is an optional event in CWG. However, India has threatened a boycott unless the sport that has netted a majority of medals for the nation in the last few editions is restored.
On Thursday, IOA will point out to Martin the rapid rise of Indian shooters at global level and that “they have won 15 quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and dominated all ISSF World Cups this year,” its secretary-general Rajiv Mehta said on Wednesday. “We will push our case more forcefully (after the Olympic quota berths).”
Mehta said: “Martin looked positive when I welcomed her at the airport. She asked what can or should be done to resolve the issue, definitely something positive will emerge.
However, if CGF is unable to persuade the Birmingham Games organisers to include shooting, India may stick to their decision. “We will put shooting on top of the agenda during the meeting. Our boycott threat is very serious. A sizeable chunk of our medals have come in this sport. If we can win 15 quota places, you can well know how many we can win at the CWG.”
However, IOA may ease their stand if Martin agrees to a long-term solution. Mehta said if the CGF chief doesn’t commit to shooting’s inclusion in Birmingham, IOA will push for making shooting a permanent sport. “If they are willing to give us that commitment and confirm shooting will be part of the CWG from the 2026 Games onwards, we might soften our stand.”
While IOA has threatened a boycott, Indian athletes, especially from other disciplines, have opposed any such move.
Though shooting is optional, it has featured in every Games since 1966, barring the 1970 edition. India have emerged the “best nation” in shooting in four of the five Games since Manchester 2002 and stand only behind Australia in the overall gold medal tally.
A venue change had also played a role in the dropping of shooting from the programme.
“When Durban was announced as the venue during a meeting at Washington DC in 2015, all four shooting disciplines (rifle, pistol, shotgun and full-bore) were included in the Optional Sport Agreement. But when Durban pulled out in February 2017 due to financial constraints, Birmingham, awarded the Games, dropped shooting while including women’s T20 cricket and beach volleyball,” Mehta said.
“We will tell Martin that Birmingham had no business dropping shooting when it was decided during the bidding process that Durban would include it.”
CGF media and communications director Tom Degun told PTI: “At this stage following the general assembly, there is no real chance of adding shooting to the 2022 CWG but there will be discussion on it.”
He indicated that the meeting could discuss making shooting a core sport. After the meeting with IOA officials, Martin will also meet sports minister Kiren Rijiju.