Will Try Diplomatic Channels to Get Shooting Back at CWG: Rijiju
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju made it clear that the government cannot interfere in sports matter but promised to explore diplomatic channels to have shooting included in the 2022 Commonwealth Games programme.
The minister, who visited the National Institute of Sports (NIS) on Saturday, 29 June, said he is aware of the pullout threat made by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) after the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) left out shooting from sports programme of the Birmingham edition.
The IOA had recently said it will not be averse to taking the unprecedented step of pulling out of the Commonwealth Games.
Rijiju's predecessor Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had last year written to his British counterpart as well to the CGF President, urging them to intervene and ensure that the sport remains a part of the 2022 edition.
The CGF, however, had left it to the host nation, in this case England, to decide the fate of shooting, which has always been an optional sport.
The decision to leave out shooting dealt a big blow to India which had won as many as 16 medals out of 66 in the 2018 Gold Coast CWG, and the IOA said that pulling out of the Games altogether cannot be ruled out.
"Shooting is a big sport in India and for many shooters CWG is a stepping stone to Olympics two years later. It is a big setback for shooting as well as Indian sport as a whole. We have made representations to the CGF, and the government has also done that but still shooting has been left out," IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta had said recently.
Last year, National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh had called for India to boycott the Birmingham Games if shooting sport is not included in the roster.
Meanwhile, after inspecting the facilities at the NIS, Rijiju said that the synthetic track here has outlived its life and the government was planning to relay the track.
He said that the government was also exploring the possibility of various tie-ups with corporate houses to absorb national and international players so that they do not have to worry about their livelihood while playing for the country.
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