India threatens Commonwealth Games boycott if shooting scrapped
28 Jul 2019
Abhinav Bindra, India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, says boycotting the 2022 Commonwealth Games is not an option, and advised the IOA to ‘load’ the committees.
The Commonwealth Games Federation on Sunday pledged to hold talks with India after its Olympic body threatened a boycott of the 2022 event in Birmingham over the exclusion of shooting.
India topped the table for shooting at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia, taking home 16 medals including seven gold for a total tally of 66 medals — the third-best performing nation.
Shooting and archery were last month nominated by the Birmingham organising committee as events to be dropped from the 2022 Games programme, and for women’s T20 cricket, beach volleyball and para-table tennis to be included. The decision has to be ratified by Commonwealth Games Federation members. The Indian Olympic Association wrote to the government noting that if shooting events were removed, the country’s medal haul would take a big hit.
“The impression that will go down is of bad performance because (the) overall number of total medals may come down along with the overall ranking based on medals won,” the association said in a letter to India’s Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
The association said it would like to hold talks with Rijiju. In response, the Commonwealth Games Federation said in a statement on Sunday that “we absolutely want India to participate wholeheartedly in Birmingham 2022”.
Meanwhile, Abhinav Bindra on Sunday said boycotting the 2022 Commonwealth Games is not an option, and advised the IOA to ‘load’ the CWG committees with more of their people so that, in future, shooting is not excluded from the games.
“Boycotts don’t win you influence. They just make you irrelevant and punish other athletes. Would be far better if IOA did a campaign to load the CWG committees with their people and allies and push for the inclusion of shooting onto the core list of sports for the future,” Bindra said in a tweet.