Commonwealth Games: Here's why India is considering to pull out
There is a possibility the entire Indian contingent might not participate in the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is mulling to pull out of the tournament owing to the decision of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to exclude archery (recurve) and shooting from the event. Rajeev Mehta, IOA General Secretary, has stated that a decision would be taken within a month.
It was reported a couple of days back that the CWG organizing committee has recommended to drop shooting and archery (recurve) from the event. The reason behind the recommendation is that the committee wants to add new sports in the form of women's T20, beach volleyball and para table tennis. The exclusion of these sports would dent India's medal chances in the 2022 event.
"Yes, we are pretty serious about it (the threat to boycott the Games). India will suffer big time by this decision. Shooting has been our biggest source of medals at the CWG. The sport has a rich history and legacy," Mehta said to TOI.
Mehta is well aware of the fact that once a decision has been recommended by the CWG organizing committee, it is difficult to reverse it. However, Mehta has warned the CGF members of what could happen if they ratify this decision. "It must be ratified by the CGF members who are meeting next month. Let us see what happens," Mehta added.
Ace Indian shooter Heena Sidhu too voiced her displeasure about the development, asides supporting IOA's claim to boycott the entire event. Sidhu believes India would suffer big loss. She thinks the CWG organizers have done this to improve the chances of Britain's success at home. "They have cut down on events where we were expected to fare better," Sidhu said to TOI.
Meanwhile, President of Archery Association of India BVP Rao is livid with IOA chief Narinder Batra. He blamed Batra for being careless. Rao added, "Batra should have been campaigning in London for the retention of shooting and inclusion of archery in the CWG than campaigning in Lausanne for his own election of the IOC membership."
India's performance in shooting during the 2018 CWG was phenomenal, as the contingent delivered an all-round performance, claiming 16 medals, which included seven golds. Archery was not a part of 2018 event, with its last appearance being way back in 2010, where India had bagged eight medals. India ranked third in the medals tally in 2018, and the exclusion could push them further down.
While India may lose out on medals in archery and shooting, there is a renewed hope as women's cricket has been included in the event for the first time ever. Indian women are one of the best in world cricket and they would look to script a podium finish in 2022.