The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the visiting officials of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) presented an “amiable” front even as issues related to India’s participation in the 2022 Commonwealth Games remained unresolved.
At the end of a series of meetings involving the IOA, CGF and the Union Sports Ministry here on Thursday, it became clear that the contentious question related to shooting being part of the Games hung in balance. The IOA held out hope even as CGF was equally firm in explaining its stand on the issue.
The CGF CEO David Grevemberg emphasized, “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). Do we have a solution? NO. We won’t make false promises.”
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CGF president Louise Martin was forthcoming too. “We were impressed by the legacy of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. India can host many championships (at the fabulous Indira Gandhi Sports Complex). 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.” The decision to exclude shooting at the 2022 Games was taken in 2015.
The IOA president, Dr. N. K. Batra, clarified, “I 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 insisted, “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.”
The interaction ended on a positive note. Martin said, “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.” For Batra, the chapter was not “closed.”