‘No space for shooting in 2022 CWG’ despite India’s boycott threat
London, Aug. 13 (IANS): Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Louise Martin has insisted that shooting will not be a part of the 2022 edition to be held in Birmingham despite threat from India to boycott the Games.
Speaking to Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, Martin said that shooting has never been a “compulsory sport” in Commonwealth Games.
“A sport has to earn the right to be in the Games,” said Martin. “Shooting has never been a compulsory sport. We have to work through it but shooting will not be in the Games. We have no space any more.”
The newspaper also reported that Birmingham’s offer to hold two shooting events had been turned down by International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), which wanted a full program.
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 1974 that shooting won’t be seen at the Commonwealth Games and only the second since its first inclusion on 1966.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra has also written to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju seeking a meeting to discuss the “proposed boycott”.
Indian shooters bagged 16 of their 66 medals, including seven gold at last year’s Gold Coast Games where they finished third in the medals tally.
Australia could also threaten to boycott 2022 CWG
After India, Australia could also threaten to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) if shooting is not included as an event in Birmingham.
In June this year, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had decided to scrap shooting from the CWG. If the move stays, CWG will be held sans shooting for the first time since 1970.
The move had left India fuming, forcing ace shooter Heena Sindhu to raise a call to boycott the games.
Shooters Union Australia (SUA), a lobby group claiming to represent thousands of firearm owners and enthusiasts across Australia, which is affiliated to the National Rifle Association in the US, has also demanded to boycott the 2022 CWG.
Australia had won nine medals, including three golds, in shooting at the Gold Coast CWG in 2018, the second-highest tally after India.
SUA President Graham Park said: “Australia should stand with India in demanding the shooting events be returned to the 2022 Commonwealth Games line-up, and be prepared to carry through with a boycott if they are not.
“Australia is well-known for their sporting talents at the global stage and arbitrarily denying the top shooters gives our athletes the message that ‘the government doesn’t think your sport matters’, it dramatically lowers our potential medal count and thus our national prestige.”
Jan Linsley, former manager of Australia’s CWG shooting team, said the excuse that there was no suitable venue close to Birmingham to host the sport was not credible.
The decision not to include shooting in Birmingham would directly impact the development and future of Australian shooters, Linsley added.