New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) Sports Minister Kirren Rijiju clarified that any decision regarding India potentially boycotting the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games due to the ouster of shooting from the games programme will have to be taken after due consultation with the government.
Rijiju, while interacting with the media after meeting members of the Indian women's hockey team that recently won the FIH Series Finals in Japan, clarified that the ministry will discuss the matter with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), who have threatened to boycott the 2022 CWG due to shooting's removal.
"If you have to boycott you have to ask the government because these sort of decisions are not to be declared unilaterally. (Issues such as) the future of athletes, national prestige is involved so when such steps are taken it has to be taken after due consultation. We will discuss with the IOA about this," Rijiju said.
Earlier, IOA general secretary Rajeev Mehta reportedly said that the possibility of India boycotting the 2022 Commonwealth Games cannot be ruled after it was revealed that shooting won't be part of the Games' programme for only the second time since it was first included in 1966 and for the first time since 1970. The decision affects India in particular with 16 medals (7 gold) coming from shooting at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Rijiju also urged more uniformity in the policies of individual state governments towards sports. "Sports is a state subject so I would be appealing to the state government to focus on its growth," he said. He also said that a conference with sports ministers of all the states is on the cards after the conclusion of the monsoon session of the parliament.
Rijiju also expressed his happiness on the performance of the Series Finals winning hockey team in Hiroshima. He said that he will visit the team's training centre in Bengaluru. "The team has played very well, and made us proud. The ministry will extend all support to players, both individually and as a team. I will visit their training center in Bengaluru to meet their coaches and discuss the requirements of the team. India has a good chance of qualifying for the Olympics and winning a medal in hockey," Rijiju said.
(Rohit Mundayur can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org)