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CGF to meet with Indian officials amid Birmingham boycott threat

The Commonwealth Games Federation plans on meeting with officials from the Indian Olympic Association amid fears the country may boycott the 2022 Games in the English city of Birmingham following the decision to drop shooting from the sports programme.

It was announced last month that women’s Twenty20 cricket, beach volleyball and para table tennis have been recommended for inclusion at the 2022 Games. Shooting and archery had applied for inclusion at the event but missed out.

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

The Reuters news agency reports that Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra has written to Indian sports minister Kiren Rijiju to discuss a proposed boycott of Birmingham 2022. The IOA has already chosen to boycott the CGF’s General Assembly meeting in Rwanda, while it has withdrawn two of its officials’ candidatures for the upcoming CGF elections.

A spokesperson for the CGF told Reuters: “We absolutely want India to participate wholeheartedly in Birmingham 2022 and look forward to meeting our colleagues in India over the coming months to discuss their concerns and future ambitions.”

Reuters noted that 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.

Birmingham 2022 chief executive Ian Reid added: “As the organisers of the Games we do, of course, want every nation and territory eligible to compete to take part in our event.

“We know that the Commonwealth Games Federation is hoping to meet with the IOA soon, to discuss their concerns and we hope that this meeting goes well.”