India proposal to shake up C'wealth landscape

NEW DELHI • India's offer to host separate Commonwealth championships for two disciplines absent in the 2022 Birmingham Games roster could be a "game changer" and pave the way for facility-sharing among member countries, the country's top sports officials said.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had threatened to boycott the Games in England over shooting's exclusion before a climbdown last week. The Indian shooting federation has offered to host a Commonwealth championship in 2022 and the IOA also wants a similar event for archery, which will not feature in Birmingham either.

Indian officials also want the medals won in both tournaments to count in the final Games table.

IOA was most upset at the exclusion of shooting which supplied 16 of India's 66 medals, including seven of 26 golds, at the 2018 Gold Coast Games.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), which led the outrage against shooting's exclusion, wants a separate Commonwealth championship. "It's a simple proposal to have an adjunct competition, either in New Delhi or Chandigarh, three months before the Games in Birmingham," NRAI president Raninder Singh said.

The proposal follows Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Louise Martin's meeting with her International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) counterpart Vladimir Lisin in Munich last month.

"Although a Commonwealth Shooting Championships is among one of several ideas being discussed with the ISSF, nothing has been formally proposed, let alone agreed upon, " CGF chief David Grevemberg said last month. "Speculation around what this event could look like, and what medals won at such an event could mean in the context of the Games, is extremely premature."

Singh, who attended the meeting as ISSF vice-president, said India's offer could lead to infrastructure-sharing among CGF nations.

"Why waste money creating new infrastructure which may rot and not use the existing ones even if in another country? It gives flexibility," he said. "Adjunct competitions can take the Games to a much bigger and larger audience and help retain the popular but optional disciplines."

 REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2020, with the headline 'India proposal to shake up C'wealth landscape'. Print Edition | Subscribe