No room to shoot for 2022 Games

LONDON • The Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin said shooting will not be part of the 2022 edition in Birmingham despite a threat by India to boycott the entire Games in protest.

She told Britain's Daily Telegraph the decision to exclude shooting from the programme for the first time since 1974 had come down to a question of logistics.

Shooting has been a high-yielding discipline for India with shooters accounting for 16 of the country's 66 medals, including seven golds at last year's Gold Coast Games. India hosted the Games in New Delhi in 2010.

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra suggested the country boycott the Birmingham Games in protest at the decision and last month sought approval from sports minister Kiren Rijiju for the move.

"A sport has to earn the right to be in the Games," Martin said.

"Shooting has never been a compulsory sport. We have to work through it but shooting will not be in the Games. We have no space anymore."

The IOA could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Telegraph reported Birmingham's offer to hold two shooting events had been turned down by the International Shooting Sport Federation, which wanted a full programme.

The closest facility to Birmingham deemed capable by organisers of hosting a full shooting programme was in Bisley, Surrey, about 209km away.

Up to 4,500 athletes are expected to compete across 19 sports at the 22nd edition of the Games, held from July 27-Aug 7 in 2022.

Birmingham 2022 chief executive Ian Reid told the insidethegames website his team understand India's concerns and are continuing to speak with them to try and avert a boycott.

He added: "We engaged fully with the shooting fraternity, and I think they fully understand our rationale. We understand how important shooting is to India and they have a positive track record, we are aware of that.

"Shooting was not included at bid time, it is important to remember."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2019, with the headline 'No room to shoot for 2022 Games'. Print Edition | Subscribe