We are with IOA, says NRAI on 2022 Commonwealth Games boycott plan

New Delhi: The National Rifle Association (NRAI) of India has backed the Indian Olympic Association's proposal to completely boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games, for excluding shooting from the sporting event.

NRAI Secretary Rajeev Bhatia and General Secretary DV Seetharama Rao on Sunday said the NRAI has faith in Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and will back whatever decicion the IOA takes. This comes after Indian Olympic Association IOA President Narinder Batra wrote to Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju, urging him to boycott the 2022 CWG games in the UK due to the exclusion of shooting.

"We are a national sports federation, we are a part of the IOA so whatever action IOA is taking, we have to back them. We are with IOA. We are number one in the world now in shooting. We have gone ahead of China and the UK. The government will eventually take the final call," Rao, General Secretary, NRAI told ANI. "It's a good step taken by IOA President, shooters are looking positively at this that something positive will come out. Whatever action IOA takes, we will support them. Everybody is disappointed as shooters are losing a big opportunity, everyone wants to win medals," Bhatia, Secretary, NRAI told ANI.

In the letter addressed to Rijiju, Batra said that the IOA has decided that India will not attend the Congress of CWG in Kigali, Rwanda, from September 3 to 5 later this year. He added that the IOA has come to a decision that names of Rajeev Mehta and Namdev Shirgaonker for VP Regional and Member Sports Committee, respectively, will be withdrawn from the CWG election.

"We want to express our protest by not taking part in 2022 CWG Games 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 the CWG need to understand that India got its independence in 1947 and India is not a colony of anyone anymore and is now the 5th largest economy in the world and by far the fastest-growing economy in the world," the letter had said. The IOA president further said that India bagged most of the medals in shooting category and by removing it India's position will come down.

In 2010 CWG, India had finished second in overall medals tally and total medals won in the shooting only were 30. In 2018, India had finished third with 16 medals in shooting. "By removing shooting from CWG 2022 the medal ranking of India will go down from third in 2018 to anywhere between fifth to eighth in CWG 2022 and the total number of medals won in 2018, that is, 66 will also come down," the letter had said.

"Even though the government, NSF and IOA will be working hard for CWG 2022, the impression that will go down is of bad performance because the overall number of total medals may come down along with the overall ranking based on medal's won," it added.

Batra also highlighted that India does not have a single member in the CWG Executive Council or in any functional committees of CWG. "It will be very interesting to note that India does not have even a single member in CWG Executive Council and nor does it have a single member in any of the functional committees of CWG," the letter had said.

Batra, however, acknowledged that the issue is yet to be discussed with athletes, stakeholders and government. He said that whenever India's position is good in shooting either goalposts are shifted or rules are changed. "We have been noticing over the period of time that wherever India seems to get a 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 positions," the letter said.

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