Furore over shooting's omission from 2022 CWG reaches British Parliament
By Abhishek Hore
New Delhi, Jun 26 (PTI) The furore over shooting's exclusion from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham has reached the doors of the British Parliament, and a debate on the matter will be held in the House of Commons tomorrow.
The development follows a sustained effort by National Rifle Association of India's (NRAI) president Raninder Singh and it is believed that India now has managed to get cross party support of a substantial number in the House of Commons, seeking re-inclusion of shooting in Birmingham.
"They (House of Commons) are raising it tomorrow. All this is happening because of NRAI president Raninder Singh, who has been quietly trying to get the Olympic sport of shooting back in fold for the 2022 Games," a top federation official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
In April, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore wrote separate letters to both the Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin and British MP Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, requesting their immediate intervention to ensure that the sport remains a part of the 2022 edition.
Even as the CGF maintained its stance, India did not give up on its hopes to get it included in the Games programme as an optional sport.
Raninder had earlier issued a boycott threat, too.
Speaking at a function to felicitate the Indian shooters after their exploits at the Gold Coast Games, the NRAI chief had said, "We will strongly appeal to the sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association to withdraw Indian team from the 2022 edition of the CWG."
Though CGF CEO David Grevemberg had, in February, said shooting continues to remain in the optional category, he also made it clear that the federation's stand is final and binding on all the participating Commonwealth nations to exclude shooting from the 2022 CWG programme.
The move to drop shooting from the 2022 roster, apparently due to logistical issues raised by the Local Organising Committee, came as a huge setback for the Indian shooting fraternity.
Indian shooters have been returning with a rich haul of medals since the 2002 edition in Manchester. They won an impressive 16 medals, including seven gold at the Gold Coast Games in April.
Out of the 64 medals India won at Glasgow in the 2014 edition, 17 were the shooters' contribution.
Overall, they have contributed nearly one-third of India's CWG medals