Commonwealth powerhouse India is threatening to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham if the shooting sports are not reinstated, with Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju this week appealing to the British government to intervene.
Organisers of the $1.5bn Birmingham showpiece took the decision to drop shooting from its proposed location at Bisley in Surrey, with chief executive Ian Reid claiming it “offered little or no benefit to the West Midlands”.
India, which accounts for more than half the population of the Commonwealth, topped the shooting table with seven gold medals at the 2018 Games on the Gold Coast – more than a quarter of their total gold haul – and in his letter to Nicky Morgan, the British secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Mr Rijiju said: “The Indian public takes a keen interest in shooting.”
Since 1966 the shooting sports have featured at every Commonwealth Games but one, and Mr Rijiju’s letter underlined the fact that the International Shooting Sport Federation has offered to share the cost of including them in Birmingham.
He wrote: “It seems the decision to exclude shooting is based on the premise that shooting had never been a compulsory sport and there is no venue available for holding shooting events.”
Back in June the Birmingham organising committee announced that women’s cricket, Para-table tennis and beach volleyball had been accepted into the 2022 Games but shooting and archery, other ‘non-core’ sports, had been excluded.
Senator Bridget McKenzie, in her former role as Australian Sports Minister, wrote to Games organisers in Birmingham at the request of the SSAA, voicing our opposition at their decision to exclude the shooting sports in 2022.