The National Rifle Association of India on Sunday said it supports the Indian Olympic Association’s proposal to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham for excluding shooting from its roster.
In an unprecedented move, the IOA sought the government’s approval, with president Narinder Batra writing to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
NRAI secretary Rajeev Bhatia said they are on the same page as far as boycotting of the Games is concerned. “We are with the IOA. Of course, we back their proposal to boycott the Games. We are part of the IOA as one of the NSFs [National Sports Federations],” Bhatia said. “The IOA president has done a good job and we support whatever steps the IOA takes,” he added.
Reacting to the country’s proposal to boycott, the Commonwealth Games Federation said it “absolutely” wants India to participate in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Batra wrote to the government a day after the IOA pulled out of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s General Assembly, to be held in Rwanda in September, protesting the dropping of shooting.
The IOA had also withdrawn the nomination of its secretary general Rajeev Mehta for the election of a regional vice-president as well as that of Namdev Shiragaonkar for sports committee member.
While proposing a boycott of the 2022 CWG, Batra lashed out at the CGF leadership for having an “India bashing mindset” and for “trying to change rules” whenever the country does well in the Commonwealth Games. He even went to the extent of saying that India is no longer a colony of any country.
“We have been noticing over a period of time that wherever India seems to be getting grip of the game and performing well, then somehow we find that either the goal posts are shifted or rules are changed. We feel it is time for us in IOA/India to start asking tough questions and start taking tough positions,” Batra wrote in his letter.
The CGF, meanwhile, said it intends to meet the IOA officials in the near future to help find a solution to the concerns raised.
“We absolutely want India to participate wholeheartedly in Birmingham 2022 and look forward to meeting our colleagues in India over the coming months to discuss their concerns and future ambitions,” CGF Media and Communications Manager Tom Degun told PTI in an e-mail.