Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Short of saying that Shooting will not be part of the 2022 Games, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) CEO David Grevemberg on Thursday maintained that his federation wont make any false promise ” “Shooting was an optional sport in Commonwealth Games. Shooting must own this problem. Not just for 2022, but beyond. We have come here to listen and learn, show respect (to IOA)
Grevemberg made this statement at a press conference here this evening after the visiting CGF delegation held series of meetings with the Sports Minister Kiren RijijuMeanwhile , officials and members of the executive board of the IOACGF president Louise Martin talked about everything but made no commitment about shooting saying that the decision to exclude shooting at the 2022 Games was taken in 2015. and participating countries (including India) were aware of it .It is disappointing that some nations have raised the issue related to shooting not being part of the 2022 Games. The CGF has to keep evolving.”
Before that she lavished praise on India saying that ” We were impressed by the legacy of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. India can host many championships (at the fabulous Indira Gandhi Sports Complex).
Making the opening remarks, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra clarified that he was wrong to suggest India would boycott the Games. “Boycott is not the word. It should have been withdraw from the Games. We are not far from finding the solution. Our stand persists. We haven’t taken any decision yet on India’s participation in 2022 if shooting is excluded from the Games.”
IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta opined that “Everything is not lost. We are happy with our discussions. Also, we are going to bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games. I have the government’s assurance in this regard.”
Though the CGF delegation and IOA officials put up an “amiable” front it was very apparent that many a issues have not been resolved.it became clear that the contentious question related to shooting being part of the Games hung in balance. The IOA held out hope but the CGF was firm in its stand
“We are all still smiling.” For Grevamberg, it was a platform that reflected, “peace, sustainability and prosperity of the Games. We have become more inclusive. We have evolved as a movement.” were the remarks of CGF president as she ended the press conference .Later in a joint statement released to the media Martin and Batra said iscussions between the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport, the Government of India, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) have been very positive.
“We are confident that our important visits to Delhi and Punjab will significantly strengthen our relationship as we move forwards.
The CGF and the IOA recognise the significant positive sporting legacies created from the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games in terms of both sport participation and high performance across the country. The CGF commends the leadership of the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport Kiren Rijiju for championing the open and inclusive free use of Delhi 2010 venues for sport development and competition.
The CGF appreciates the concerns expressed by India about the non-inclusion of shooting as a competitive event at Birmingham 2022 and we are committed to working together for finding a solution to this.
We have also agreed to work closely to help strengthen India’s voice and presence across the Commonwealth Sport Movement.
Following our discussions, the CGF are increasingly hopeful that the athletes of India will compete at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. We acknowledge and respect that this decision will ultimately be taken by the sports community of India but have been delighted with the opportunity to discuss the refreshed vision of the Commonwealth Sport Movement and India’s important role in achieving it.
An important part of the CGF visit has been to witness and celebrate the continuing positive legacies of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. The CGF are also convening with athletes and officials across Indian sport to discuss the future of Commonwealth Sport, the statement added
On the other hand Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju asserted that the CGF has taken a serious note of India’s concern over shooting’s exclusion from the 2022 CWG and has agreed to work towards finding a solution.
“We understand that shooting is an optional sport at the Commonwealth Games, but we had expressed our concern on the sport being excluded and the issue has been well received by the Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin,” Rijiju said.
“We had a fruitful discussion today and I appreciate that the CGF has taken serious note of the issue. We will need a few more rounds of discussions, but I am happy with the fact that we have made a positive start,” the minister added.