The latest development in the fallout over the exclusion of shooting from the 2022 Commonwealth Games seems to be putting the International Shooting Sport Federation at odds with the Birmingham Games organisers.
Ian Reid, the Chief Executive Officer for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, defended the organisers’ decision to not include shooting in the sports roster after the Indian Olympic Association demanded a boycott of the event.
Reid revealed that Birmingham Games organisers offered an alternative to the shooting federation wherein they could host just two disciplines – rifle and pistol – and the Games, but it was rejected by the federation.
However, ISSF secretary general Alexander Ratner refuted this claim saying that the shooting body did not get any such proposal from the organisers.
In the statement, Reid asserted that shooting is not a core Commonwealth Games Federation sport and was not included in Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Games.
“In September 2018, five sports that were not included in the original bid - shooting, archery, beach volleyball, para table tennis and cricket – expressed their desire to be part of the Games. So the Birmingham 2022 Board committed to conducting a review, offering each sport a chance to be included,’ read the statement.
The CGF further explained that there was an assessment panel formed to review the position of each sport based on criteria such as financial considerations; suitable venues and additional revenue from ticket sales and/or sponsorship.
While shooting scored well on some of these factors, the big problem, facing the sport was the availability of venues.
“The Panel determined that the proposed location for shooting at Bisley in Surrey offered little or no benefit to the West Midlands, in a Games with a significant proportion of funding coming from the region,’ read the statement.
That is when alternative plan with just two disciplines was suggested, but the International Shooting Sport Federation, the International Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Associations and British Shooting wanted the complete portfolio. But if Ratner is to be believed, this plan was not presented as an official proposal.
“The ISSF had discussed the possibility to hold the competitions in Bisley – where there are possibilities for all the events – with the organizers on December 3. But we never heard of such a proposal and did not get it [officially],” Ratner was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Meanwhile, the IOA is adamant on action with a letter written to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju asking for a meeting over the proposed boycott.
While proposing a boycott of the 2022 CWG, IOA chief Narinder 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.
In response, Reid said that the organizers hope to meet with the Indian Olympic Association soon to discuss their concerns. “It’s our hope that we will be welcoming India to Birmingham in 2022,” he said.
The decision to leave out shooting could dent India’s medal chances at the CWG with as many as 16 medals out of 66 won at the 2018 Gold Coast CWG coming from shooters.
The sport has featured in every Commonwealth Games edition since 1966 with the exception of Edinburgh 1970. The CGF, however, had taken the position that it was the host nation’s prerogative to decide the fate of shooting, which has always been an optional sport in the CWG.