In an unprecedented move, the Indian Olympic Association Saturday proposed a boycott of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games for dropping shooting from the roster and sought the government’s approval.
In a letter to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, IOA president Narinder Batra requested him for an early meeting to deliberate on the proposal. The development comes a day after the IOA pulled out of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) General Assembly, to be held in Rwanda in September, protesting the dropping of shooting from the 2022 CWG roster.
The IOA had also withdrawn the nomination of its secretary-general Rajeev Mehta for the election of a regional vice-president as well as that of Namdev Shiragaonkar for sports committee member.
While proposing a boycott of the 2022 CWG, Batra lashed out at the CGF leadership for having an “India bashing mindset” and for “trying to change rules” whenever the country does well in the Commonwealth Games. He even went to the extent of saying that India is no longer a colony of any country.
“We want to express our protest by not taking part in 2022 CWG in the UK to make the CWG understand that India is not prepared to take India bashing anymore and the people with a particular mindset in CWG need to understand that India got its Independence in 1947 and India is not a colony of anyone anymore and is now the fifth-largest economy in the world and by far the fastest-growing economy in the world,” the IOA chief said in the letter.
“We have been noticing over a period of time that wherever India seems to be getting grip of the game and performing well, then somehow we find that either the goalposts are shifted or rules are changed. We feel it is time for us in IOA/India to start asking tough questions and start taking tough positions,” he said.
Batra said the IOA cannot take a decision of this magnitude with such far-reaching implications by itself and requested the sports minister to grant an early meeting to discuss the boycott proposal.
“We realise and understand that such decisions have to be taken by keeping in mind the political sensitivities (sic) and we in the IOA are not the experts in the field and that is why we vide through this letter seek appointment for IOA President along with IOA office bearers and few other members to meet with your good self to deliberate further on the issue of the proposed boycott of 2022 CWG by India.”
In its Executive Board meeting last month, the CGF left out shooting from the 2022 Birmingham Games while recommending the inclusion of three new sports. Mehta had then said that India would not be averse to taking the unprecedented step of pulling out of the Games.