Indian Olympic Association is yet to get an official confirmation about shooting being scrapped from the programme of 2022 Commonwealth Games but said it will ask the organisers to reconsider its decision.
There have been reports that shooting would not be included in the Birmingham Games programme. However, the decision is not yet finalised. Shooting is an optional sport and is not among the 10 core sports which are mandatory in every Commonwealth Games. A host country can include up to seven from a list of optional sports/disciplines.
It has been contested at every Commonwealth Games since Kingston 1966, with the exception of Edinburgh 1970. India are among the top performing countries in shooting in the Commonwealth Games. The country is currently second on the all-time medal table having won 56 gold, 40 silver and 22 bronze.
Reacting to the development, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said, “We have not yet received any official communication from the 2022 CWG organisers or the CGF about this. So I cannot say with certainty (that shooting has been scrapped).
“We will take it up with the organisers and the CGF and present our objection if such a decision (to scrap shooting) is taken,” he said.
The International Shooting Sport Federation and British Shooting had both claimed earlier this year that the sport should be contested at the 2022 Games. But shooting’s inclusion in the Birmingham Games has been uncertain from the very beginning as the closest Olympic- standard range to the Midlands city is more than 200 kilometres away at Bisley in Surrey.
In fact, on the representation of National Rifles Association of India, the IOA had written a letter to the CGF President Louise Martin in September, asking the organisers to include shooting in their programme. “Shooting has been part of Commonwealth Games since 1966 and Commonwealth Shooting Championship is organised regularly. It is a popular sport with many medallist in the Commonwealth countries, including India, Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand ... The exclusion of shooting from the sports programme of 2022 CWG is not at all conceivable,” the letter by Mehta said.
“As for India, our shooters have won a number of medals in the Commonwealth Games. The victory in the CWG has been a catalyst in the development of shooting in our country. It is significant in our review of sporting performance.
“The IOA-CGA India strongly recommends to the executive board of the CGF and also Commonwealth Games England for continuity and inclusion of shooting in 2022 CWG,” the letter had stated.
However, lack of facilities has not deterred the 2022 CWG organisers from staging track cycling at the Lee Valley Velodrome in London – the venue used at the 2012 Olympic Games – which is also more than 200km away from Birmingham.
With the building of a new velodrome in Birmingham not feasible due to time constraints and financial concerns, organisers have decided to stage the event at the venue located at the Queen Elizabeth Park in London.