IOA cannot take unilateral decision to pull out of 2022 CWG, says Sports Minister Rijiju

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said the IOA cannot take a unilateral decision to withdraw from the the 2022 Commonwealth Games following the omission of shooting from the event’s roster.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said his ministry will discuss the issue in details with the shooting federation (NRAI) and IOA before taking a decision.   -  PTI

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Tuesday that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) cannot take a unilateral decision about pulling out of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games following the omission of shooting from the event’s roster.

Last week, the Commonwealth Games Federation left out shooting from the 2022 Birmingham Games in its Executive Board meeting while recommending the inclusion of three new sports.

The decision is a big blow to India, as it won 16 shooting medals out of a total haul off 66 in the 2018 Gold Coast CWG and the IOA said it is now mulling to withdraw from the 2022 event.

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However, Rijiju said his ministry will discuss the issue in details with the shooting federation (NRAI) and IOA before taking a decision. “I haven’t discussed with the shooting federation. Officially I don’t know about their position. If you have to boycott, you have to ask the government because these decisions are not to be taken unilaterally, it has to be done through proper consultation,” he said.

“It is a matter of future of our athletes and national prestige, everything is involved. Our IOA must have taken a stand and we will discuss with them,” he added.

The IOA had submitted a formal expression of interest to bid for the 2032 Olympic Games last year and talking about the ambitious plan, Rijiju said he was not averse to the idea of hosting big-ticket events.

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“It is a pride for any nation to host international events. Who wouldn’t want to have an Olympics, World Cup or any other international championship? The question is are you prepared for that? And how much you are putting in preparation for that,” Rijiju said.

“You can’t just have an event and then create an embarrassing situation. It is not about hosting the event but hosting it in a befitting manner.

“There is no doubt as a nation we will feel proud if we can host an Olympics. We are positive and we will discuss with IOA and then we will formulate...these are big decisions and can’t be spoken out in the heat of the moment. Proper planning and through discussion is required,” he added.

Commenting on the long-pending National Sports Code, he said: “After I took over, I haven’t gone through the entire provisions, and there is a matter in the court also, so if the new sports code has to be adopted it has to be done through proper consultations with stakeholders.

“I want to work with all the federations and IOA. We are one, we don’t have contradictory interests or ideas, we are working for the interest of sports. It should be done as soon as possible but whenever we do it we will do it in consultation,” he said.