Amidst India’s discontent over the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) leaving shooting out of its 2022 programme, Olympic medallist Gagan Narang Monday refused to see it as a setback, saying, to thrive, the sport shouldn’t depend only on quadrennial events. Narang, a bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, cited the example of cricket and squash to corroborate his point. “I don’t see it as a setback, it’s not a negative thing. If you look at cricket, it’s not there in the Olympics, not even in the Commonwealth Games, but the sport is thriving on its own. Even squash, for that matter, that is also doing well on its own,” Narang told PTI during an interaction.
Last month, the CGF made it clear that shooting will not be a part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, dealing a blow to India’s hopes. However, Narang preferred not to lose heart. “Now that it is out let’s be positive and give our best in Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” he said. Indian shooters have bagged as many as 16 medals, including seven gold at the Gold Coast Games last year. Since the 2002 Manchester edition, India have won most of its medals in shooting.
As a result of the CGF move, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) threatened to boycott the 2022 Games, even as the sports ministry promised to explore diplomatic channels. A winner of multiple medals at top international tournaments, the 36-year-old Narang is not too worried about the move because he is confident that shooting will be back in the CWG programme after the Birmingham edition.
“… In any case it will be back again I am sure. Okay, it’s not there in Birmingham, but it will certainly be back for the later editions,” he said. Last year, India’s then sports minister and Olympics silver medallist shooter, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, had urged the CGF president to ensure shooting remains a part of the 2022 edition. Also, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh had called for India to boycott the Birmingham Games if shooting was not included in the roster.