India should boycott 2022 CWG: NRAI chief

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh said India should boycott the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games if shooting is excluded from its list of disciplines.

With the sport coming in the optional category, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has left it to the host nation to include or exclude the sport. India, who have returned with 16 medals, including seven golds, from the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, will be severely hit if the sport is not scrapped.

Raninder said he would be writing to sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore within a day or two on the issue.

“I would like to strongly appeal to the sports ministry and the Indian Olympic Association to boycott 2022 edition of the CWG if shooting is not included in the Games,” Raninder told reporters during the felicitation of CWG medallist shooters.

“No doubt shooting is one of the optional events but members of the Commonwealth Games Federation should have been informed. But there was no discussion. Initially, pairs event was excluded, it was followed by team event. Now shooting has been totally scrapped by the Games schedule. This is not acceptable,” he said.

The NRAI chief pointed that a major chunk of India's Commonwealth Games medals come from shooting and its absence will drastically plunge the country's position in the medal tally. “About 30 percent of India's CWG medal will go into the dustbin if shooting is not there. We will be ranked below Nigeria!.”

“I have had three meetings with International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) and the CGF, but it didn't yield any conclusion. The logic of organising committee was the legacy issue. Since setting up new shooting ranges is a costly affair, the organisers had doubts whether it will be adequately put to use. In that case, the shooting event can be shifted to Bisley, which hosted shooting events during 2002 CWG,” Raninder said.

“They also quoted lack of following as one of the reason. Let me tell you we didn't have an inch of space at Gold Coast even during the qualification rounds.”

Raninder, meanwhile, was ecstatic with the performance of Indian contingent but admitted the performance in the shotgun events needs improvement. “With Mansher Singh becoming the chief national coach, we believe shotgun too will be on the right track.”

Meanwhile, the shooters, who are leaving for the World Cup in Korea on Thursday, will skip the World Cup in Fort Benning, USA (May 7-15), keeping in mind the Asian Games and World Championship in Changwon, Korea -- a qualifying event for the 2020 Olympic Games.

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