Ace shooter Heena Sidhu had recently said that India should even consider pulling out of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after shooting was excluded from the games. And she has found a backer in Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra. The chief has sent in a mail to the Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and made it clear that discussions on these lines have been had informally by IOA members.
In the mail, accessed by IANS, Batra writes: “This is with reference to the press statement of Secretary-General IOA in the month of May 2019 regarding the intention of IOA to most probably not participate in CWG 2022. The issues have also been informally discussed by IOA amongst some of the colleagues in IOA and they also agree with the views expressed by IOA Secretary-General (Rajeev Mehta).”
Earlier, speaking to IANS, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) Secretary Rajiv Bhatia had said that there was nothing that it could do since the organising committee had taken a final call on the matter. “We tried out everything but now that the organising committee have taken a final call on it, nothing can be done. It’s over now,” he had said.
It was revealed in June that the Executive Board of the CGF had decided to exclude shooting from 2022 Games to be held in Birmingham. It is the first time since 1970 that shooting won’t be seen at the Commonwealth Games and only the second since its first inclusion in 1966.
The move comes as a blow to India which won 16 medals, including seven gold in the event at the 2018 CWG at Gold Coast, Australia. NRAI president Raninder Singh had said in 2018 that it would want the Indian government to boycott the 2022 Games if shooting was dropped from the programme. Sidhu had said: “I think it has happened before. We have backed out in the past. India is a big nation and we can throw our weight behind this.”