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‘India should boycott Birmingham Commonwealth Games’

The Indian shooting contingent claimed as many as 16 medals, seven of them gold, in shooting at the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, but there is anger in India over the discipline being excluded from the 2022 edition in Birmingham

other sports Updated: Apr 17, 2018 17:10 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
New Delhi
Commonwealth Games,2018 Commonwealth Games,Birmingham Commonwealth Games
The shooting discipline has been scrapped from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.(AP)

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh says India should boycott the next edition of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) slated for 2022 in Birmingham because shooting discipline has been arbitrarily excluded from the competition.

The Indian shooting contingent claimed as many as 16 medals, seven of them gold, in shooting at the just concluded CWG competition in Gold Coast.

“Will strongly appeal to the sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association to withdraw Indian team from the 2022 edition of the CWG,” said NRAI chief in New Delhi on Tuesday.

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No doubt shooting is one of the optional events, says Singh, but members of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) should have been apprised of the development. His contention is that some officials are purposely doing it as events from the competition have gradually have been reduced. “Initially pairs event was excluded, it was followed by team event. Now shooting has been totally scrapped by the games schedule. This is not acceptable,” he said. “Top shooters contribute major chunk of medals in the CWG. If the discipline doesn’t feature in the schedule, India’s position in the medal tally will drastically fall down. As the head of the shooting body in the country, I believe decision isn’t healthy,” he said of Birmingham Organising Committee’s decision to scrap shooting.

The NRAI chief said that of the three meetings with the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) and the CGF have yielded no result. The logic of organising committee for scrapping shooting, says Singh, was a legacy issue. “Since setting up new shooting ranges is (a) costly affair, after the games organisers have doubts whether it will be adequately put to use. In that case the shooting event can be shifted to Bisley, which hosted shooting events during 2002 CWG,” he suggested.

Lack of followers is another issue that was raised by the organisers, said the NRAI president. “But that too is incorrect as I have witnessed big surge in followers of shooting during (the) Gold Coast competition,” he added.

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Talking of the overall performance of the Indian contingent in Australia, Singh said rifle and pistol shooters did a great job, but claimed performance in the shotgun event needs to be improved. “We are in a process of cleaning the system. With Mansher Singh becoming chief national coach, we believe shotgun too will be on the right track in (the) near future,” he said.

The NRAI official, however, refused to put the entire blame on foreign experts, particularly Italian trap coach Marcello Dradi, saying foreign coaches are there to polish the skills. “The fault is also of the federation as good system wasn’t at place. Since we have plugged the gap, we expect good results in (the) coming season,” he added.

After a good show in Australia, top shooters will skip the World Cup in Fort Benning, USA, from May 7-15 because emphasis will be on Asiad and World Championship in Changwon, Korea. It is a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. “We plan to give some rest to the shooters to recoup and peak at the right time,” he said.

First Published: Apr 17, 2018 17:10 IST