Indian shooter Jitu Rai on Thursday said the imminent dropping of the sport from the 2022 Commonwealth Games would be a huge loss to the country but felt that India should not resort to a boycott of the quadrennial multi-sporting event if it happens.
Former shooter Jaspal Rana had recently said that India should boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games after the Birmingham organisers decided to drop shooting – an optional sport for the CWG – because of logistical issues.
But Jitu, who won a gold in the 50m pistol event in the 2014 CWG, begged to differ. “Yes, it will be a huge loss to India because shooting is one sport which is giving the country a lot of medals. I am personally disappointed that shooting is most likely to be dropped from 2022 CWG,” he said at the sidelines of the sending-off ceremony of the Indian contingent for the Gold Coast Games in Delhi.
“But it is not that shooting will be dropped forever or continuously. It is the choice of the organisers of a particular CWG as it is an optional sport. Shooting may return in another Commonwealth Games, it all depends on the host country. So, I feel it is not advisable to boycott a particular Games by India on the ground that shooting is not there,” said the 30-year-old highly decorated marksman.
The Nepal-born shooter said he was confident of retaining the 50m pistol gold he won in Glasgow in 2014. “The focus is to win gold again in Gold Coast. I am pretty sure I can win a gold this time also. The preparation has been good and I am ready for the Games physically and mentally.”
Asked about his technique which has fetched him and the country a lot of medals, he said, “Every shooter has a different technique. Some will shoot after 15 seconds or some will shooter later. I have my own technique and rhythm is important for me.”