Abhinav Bindra gave his opinion regarding the calls of boycott of 2022 Commonwealth Games in England as a protest against the exclusion of shooting from the Games.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra wrote to Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju, urging India to boycott the 2022 CWG and asked for a meeting to discuss the matter.
India’s only Olympic gold medallist, Abhinav Bindra is however against the calls of boycott. He urged the IOA to work closely with the CWG committee to get shooting in the core list of sports in the future.
“Boycotts don’t win you influence. They just make you irrelevant and punish other athletes. Would be far better if IOA did a campaign to load the CWG committees with their people and allies and push for the inclusion of shooting onto the core list of sports for the future,” Bindra said on Twitter.
2/2 Boycotts don’t win you influence. They just make you irrelevant and punish other athletes. Would be far better if IOA did a campaign to load the CWG committees with their people and allies and push for the inclusion of shooting onto the core list of sports for the future.
— Abhinav Bindra OLY (@Abhinav_Bindra) July 28, 2019
Batra wrote to the government 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.
The IOA had also withdrawn the nomination of its secretary general Rajeev Mehta for the election of a regional vice-president as well as that of Namdev Shiragaonkar for sports committee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.
“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 goal posts 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,” Batra wrote in his letter.
The CGF meanwhile said it intends to meet with the IOA officials in the near future to help find a solution to the concerns raised.
“We absolutely want India to participate wholeheartedly in Birmingham 2022 and look forward to meeting our colleagues in India over the coming months to discuss their concerns and future ambitions,” CGF Media and Communications Manager Tom Degun told PTI in an e-mail.
On the other hand, India’s ace shooter Heena Sidhu said the country needed to stand for shooting at the moment because if it doesn’t, any other sport can see the same fate.
“I know boycott is a very strong word to use because for one sport we can not let others suffer. But at the same time, if we do not stand for shooting now, it could happen to some other sport,” Sidhu told ANI.
She also accused the organisers of 2022 CWG of choosing only the sports that English people want to consume on TV and that they do not want to spend money on sports that will not bring them much return.
“At the same time England is bringing cricket in CWG and that too women’s cricket and I do not know why did they not bring men’s cricket. So, I personally feel that England is trying to bring games in CWG which their people like to watch on television. They do not want to spend money from where they do not get a return and you cannot think like this in sports,” Sidhu said.