India threatens Commonwealth Games boycott if shooting scrapped

NEW DELHI — The Commonwealth Games Federation Sunday pledged to hold talks with India after its Olympic body threatened a boycott of the 2022 event in Birmingham over the exclusion of shooting.

India topped the table for shooting at last year's Commonwealth Games in Australia, taking home 16 medals including seven gold for a total tally of 66 medals  the third-best performing nation.

Shooting and archery were last month nominated by the Birmingham organizing committee as events to be dropped from the 2022 Games program, and for women's T20 cricket, beach volleyball and para-table tennis to be included. The decision has to be ratified by Commonwealth Games Federation members.

The Indian Olympic Association wrote to the government noting that if shooting events were removed, the country's medal haul would take a big hit.

"The impression that will go down is of bad performance because (the) overall number of total medals may come down along with the overall ranking based on medals won," the association said in a letter to India's Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.

"We want to express our protest by not taking part in 2022 CWG Games in UK."

The association said it would like to hold talks with Rijiju.

In the letter, president Narinder Dhruv Batra added his organization would not attend the Commonwealth Games Congress to be held in Rwanda in early September.

It was also withdrawing its two candidates for elections to be held there.

In response, the Commonwealth Games Federation said in a statement to AFP on Sunday that "we absolutely want India to participate wholeheartedly in Birmingham 2022".

"We... look forward to meeting our colleagues in India over the coming months to discuss their concerns and future ambitions," the statement said.

 Agence France-Presse

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