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Birmingham 2022 defends shooting decision amid India boycott threat

Ian Reid, chief executive of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, has defended the decision to not include shooting on the sports programme amid a threat from the Indian Olympic Association to boycott the event.

It recently emerged that the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is planning on meeting with Indian Olympic Association officials amid fears that the country may boycott Birmingham 2022 over the decision to drop shooting from the line-up of events.

Last month, women’s Twenty20 cricket, beach volleyball and para table tennis were recommended for inclusion at the Games, with shooting and archery having submitted unsuccessful applications.

India is one of the most successful nations when it comes to shooting events, and 16 of its 66 medals at Gold Coast 2018 were won in the sport. Shooting has been contested at every edition of the Games since 1966, with the exception of 1970.

IOA president Narinder Batra has reportedly written to Indian sports minister Kiren Rijiju to discuss a proposed boycott of Birmingham 2022. The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) and other shooting bodies would have preferred a four-discipline shooting programme at Bisley 0150 a Surrey-based venue – rather than the fewer disciplines that had been offered at a Birmingham-based venue.

Reid has now issued a statement outlining the organising committee’s reasons for not including shooting on the programme. Reid also insisted that the committee wants every single eligible nation and territory to compete at the Games.

Reid said: “It’s important to remember that shooting is not a core Commonwealth Games Federation sport, it is optional. In December 2017 it was not included in Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Games.”

He added that the process conducted to select the sports was “fair, logical and transparent”, with the assessment panel having included senior representatives from key Games partners including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Commonwealth Games England and Birmingham City Council.

Reid continued: “Key criteria were set, written submissions invited, and face-to-face presentations made to the panel from each of the five sports. The criteria included: financial considerations; the availability of suitable venues; the potential for additional revenue streams from ticket sales and/or sponsorship; as well as alignment with the Commonwealth Games Federation Constitution and with the objectives of Games Partners.

“Shooting scored highly on some of the key criteria and the Panel recognised the committed and enthusiastic submission from the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), the International Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Associations (ICFRA) and British Shooting (BS).

“However, the Panel determined that the proposed location for shooting at Bisley in Surrey offered little or no benefit to the West Midlands, in a Games with a significant proportion of funding coming from the region.”

Reid said the shooting bodies would not submit a proposal that did not include all four disciplines in a single Bisley-based venue. On the decision to include women’s cricket, para table tennis and beach volleyball, Reid said that the sports would be staged in local venues and bring a young and diverse audience to the Games.