After shooting was excluded from 2022 Commonwealth Games, Indian ace shooter Heena Sidhu had said that India should even consider pulling out of the games in Birmingham. And now the Arjuna Awardee 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 intention of IOA to most probably not participate in CWG 2022. The issues has 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 nothing could be done 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 Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had decided to exclude shooting from 2022 Games to be held in Birmingham — an unprecedented move since 1970 and only the second time since its first inclusion on 1966.
The move comes as a blow to India which won 16 medals, including 7 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.
Meanwhile, on shooting being excluded, 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.”
(With inputs from IANS)