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CGF “cautiously optimistic” over talks with IOA on Birmingham boycott

Sanjeev Rajput of India competes during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin will meet with his Indian Olympic Association counterpart Narinder Batra this week, and the CGF is “cautiously optimistic” that a boycott of the 2022 Games in the English city of Birmingham by the IOA over the decision to drop shooting from the sports programme can be avoided.

CGF chief executive officer David Grevemberg said to the New India Express: “We are very encouraged by the tone of discussions in the multiple correspondence that have been exchanged between Batra and our president.

“The three areas or topics for discussion are concerns around shooting, the legacy of Delhi 2010,how Indian sport has transformed, where it is going now, and transformation 2022 goals.”

However, the CGF will not budge on dropping shooting from the programme, Grevemberg said.

“The programme is what it is today. These are the decisions in our constitution. This is not your money or my money, this is the British government’s money, this decision wasn’t taken by one person.”

In September,Batra had said the country should stop entering the Commonwealth Games, citing the poor level of competition.

“India as a country, in sports, should withdraw out of Commonwealth totally,” Batra told Agence France-Presse. “I feel there is not sufficient level of competition, leaving aside two or three sports. It doesn’t leave anyone anywhere with this low level of competition.

“India should be participating in world events and world championships, which earn Olympic ranking points.”

The comments came amid a row between Indian sports officials and the Commonwealth Games over shooting being removed from the programme for the 2022 event. India has a strong shooting team and topped the shooting medal table at the last Commonwealth Games, in Australia in 2018.

One of the reasons for shooting’s absence from the Birmingham 2022 programme is the planned venue. The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) and other shooting bodies would have preferred a four-discipline shooting programme at a venue in Bisley, Surrey, as opposed to the fewer disciplines that had been offered in a Birmingham-based venue.