The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has expressed disappointment and termed the idea of omitting shooting, wrestling and archery from the initial program of the 2026 Commonwealth Games (CWG) as 'shocking'.
On Friday, the IOA wrote to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) urging them to hold discussions during the next general assembly in connection with the exclusion of sports where India has a phenomenal record over the years.
IOA secretary-general Rajeev Mehta, in a letter to CGF president Louise Martin, expressed displeasure for dropping the 'three most popular sports in the world' from the initial list of 16 sports for the 2026 CWG. The letter read:
"It is really shocking for CGA India to know that these three very popular sports in the sporting world were ignored by the CGF. The CGA India strongly recommends for the inclusion of shooting, wrestling and archery as part of the 2026 CWG sports programme."
The IOA's letter continued:
"We request to include our request in the agenda of the next CGF general assembly so that it can be discussed and take favourable decisions by the House."
Earlier, IOA secretary-general Rajeev Mehta termed the exclusion of the three sporting disciplines as a 'grave injustice' and said the IOA will decide the future course of action after consulting with the sports ministry.
Mehta added that since the 2026 CWG is being organized at multiple cities in Australia, the host country "could not have any reservation to conduct these three sports also."
Indian athletes react to exclusion of sporting disciplines from the initial 2026 Commonwealth Games (CWG) program list
Reactions from athletes across different sporting disciplines continue to pour in following the exclusion of sports like shooting, wrestling and archery from the 2026 Commonwealth Games (CWG), which is scheduled to take place in Victoria, Australia.
After 2018 Gold Coast gold medal-winning wrestler Bajrang Punia and shooter Manu Bhaker, 2021 Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Ravi Kumar Dahiya expressed displeasure with the organizers' decision to drop wrestling from the list.
The main reason behind the backlash from the athletes has to be India's consistent performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
In 2018, the Indian contingent clinched 16 medals in shooting, including seven gold, four silver and five bronze medals. Meanwhile, the wrestlers swept 12 medals, which included five gold, three silver and four bronze medals.
The organizers have earlier said that they will add a few more sporting disciplines later this year. This has kept India's archery, shooting and wrestling federations' hopes of making it to the list alive.