IOA satisfied with CGF meeting but CWG 2022 pullout threat stands
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Thursday termed the meeting with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) officials over exclusion of shooting at the 2022 Birmingham Games as a ‘success’ but maintained that the threat to withdraw was still a possibility. The IOA chief Narinder Batra and the CGF president Louise Martin met here to find a solution to the contentious issue and said a beginning had been made and that the “meeting was successful”.
Batra, however, maintained the threat to pull out of the Games is still there and he will take a call after discussions with the IOA executive board.
“We had a productive meeting. The question of withdrawal (from the Games) still remains but I would like to add that we had a good discussion,” said Batra, who refused to give a firm ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on whether India will compete in Birmingham or not.
Batra said several points were discussed and one of them was that the medals won at the Commonwealth Shooting Championships should be added to India’s CWG medals tally. “The CGF officials, though, have not given any commitment on this,” added Batra.
In fact, the CGF chief executive David Grevemberg had already clarified before coming to New Delhi that medals won during the Commonwealth Shooting Championships cannot be counted as Commonwealth Games medals.
Batra said that the proposal to withdraw will be taken by the IOA executive committee (to meet later this month) or the General Assembly to be convened next month.
Grevemberg who is accompanying Martin emphasised that since shooting was an “optional sport”, the games organisers had the right to pick or leave it out. “They (Birmingham Games organisers) had five options — women’s cricket, beach volleyball, para table tennis, archery and shooting. They chose the first three, the same way as India chose shooting for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games. Since 1974, all the games organisers have opted for shooting,” he said.
Martin added that if India’s medal count goes down on account of shooting, “there are several other countries, where shooting is popular, and they too will see a fall in the number of medals won. But barring India, Australia and Bangladesh, no other country has shown disappointment.”
Review of core sports
Grevemberg though said he respected India’s concerns and said that his team was committed to a review and look into making shooting a core sport from the 2026 Games onwards. We fully understand that it is India’s greatest sport. We will review our core sports programme in about two years from now and see which sports can be included. Shooting can be one of them,” he said.
Grevemberg clarified that Durban — which was originally awarded the 2022 CWG but withdrew due to financial constraints—had not given a firm commitment on hosting shooting events as was being portrayed by the IOA.
“During the 2015 CGF General Assembly, Durban was chosen as the host and they had proposed shooting as one of the optional sport but they had not determined (shortlisted) the venue,” said Grevemberg.
On whether India was looking to host the CWG, IOA secretary general Rajiv Mehta said, “If we get the nod (from the government) we are willing to bid for the 2026 Games.”