Australia could also threaten to boycott 2022 CWG

Melbourne: After India, Australia could also threaten to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) if shooting is not included as an event in Birmingham.
In June this year, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had decided to scrap shooting from the CWG. If the move stays, CWG will be held sans shooting for the first time since 1970.
The move had left India fuming, forcing ace shooter Heena Sindhu to raise a call to boycott the games. Shooters Union Australia (SUA), a lobby group claiming to represent thousands of firearm owners and enthusiasts across Australia, which is affiliated to the National Rifle Association in the US, has also demanded to boycott the 2022 CWG.
Australia had won nine medals, including three golds, in shooting at the Gold Coast CWG in 2018, the second-highest tally after India. SUA President Graham Park said: “Australia should stand with India in demanding the shooting events be returned to the 2022 Commonwealth Games line-up, and be prepared to carry through with a boycott if they are not.”Australia is well-known for their sporting talents at the global stage and arbitrarily denying the top shooters gives our athletes the message that ‘the government doesn’t think your sport matters’, it dramatically lowers our potential medal count and thus our national prestige.”Jan Linsley, former manager of Australia’s CWG shooting team, said the excuse that there was no suitable venue close to Birmingham to host the sport was not credible.
The decision not to include shooting in Birmingham would directly impact the development and future of Australian shooters, Linsley added. However, unfazed by India’s boycott threat, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief Louise Martin said that shooting will not be a part of the 2022 Birmingham edition.
For the first time since 1974, shooting has been excluded from the Games roster due to logistical issues but the CGF president maintained that shooting has never been a compulsory sport in the Games. “A sport has to earn the right to be in the Games,” Martin told Britain’s ‘Daily Telegraph’. “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.” Shooting has always been one of India’s strong points in the Commonwealth Games with the discipline yielding seven gold medals including 16 podium finishes at the last edition in Gold Coast. Protesting the move, India has threatened to boycott the 2022 Games.
The country’s Olympic body (IOA) president Narinder Batra has sought approval from Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju in this regard. According to the report, Birmingham had offered to hold two shooting events but the offer was rejected by International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), which wanted a full programme. CGF CEO David Grevemberg said the exclusion of shooting was not against the constitution of the Games’ governing body. “Everything we have done has been in accordance with our constitution, shooting has always been an optional sport, and the evolution of the sports programme is natural,” he was quoted as saying by website. “I think the IOA has a long history of supporting shooting, and from that perspective there are things which have to be further clarified,” he said. He appealed India to take part in the 2022 Birmingham Games. (PTI)

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