Bindra: Axing shooting from C’wealth Games ‘huge setback for India’

Abhinav Bindra acknowledged the absence of shooting from the 2022 Games would “hit hard on up-and-coming shooters.”

Abhinav Bindra was felicitated alongside other Indian Olympic medallists by IOC chief Thomas Bach.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash (File Photo)

The absence of shooting from the Commonwealth Games itinerary in 2022 would be a huge setback for India and deflate the enthusiasm of budding shooters, according to Abhinav Bindra.

On the sidelines of a felicitation event organised by the Indian Olympic Association, Bindra said, “No doubt, it will be a huge setback for the country and our shooters. It will hit hard on the up-and-coming shooters.”

India won a bagful of medals in shooting at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia.

Optional sport

The organising committee of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham decided to do away with shooting due to logistical issues. Bindra observed the discipline was axed as it was “optional.” He said, “Shooting is an optional sport and they (Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 organisers) say they don’t have the facilities to host shooting events. Had Durban (South Africa) hosted the 2022 Commonwealth Games, shooting would have been there.”

Durban was originally pencilled in to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 but the city later expressed its inability to host the Games due to financial difficulties. The Commonwealth Games Federation later awarded the Games to Birmingham, United Kingdom.

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Shooting has been included in every edition of the Games since Kingston, 1966, barring one — in Edinburgh in 1970.

Bindra, India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, was felicitated alongside others — including Rajyavardhan Rathore and Vijender Singh — by International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach.

Several Indian hockey stars of the past who have won Olympic gold medals, including the legendary Balbir Singh senior, turned up for the ceremony. Most Olympic medallists in other disciplines skipped the event.