Birmingham will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. But India’s biggest medal hope shooting has been dropped from the event list.
Amidst speculation that the Indian Olympic Association is considering to bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, English city Birmingham has been granted the right to host the quadrennial event.
Even as the list of sporting disciplines for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games will be finalised by December, reports suggest that shooting has been excluded from the list of optional events. This will be a major blow to India’s medal prospects.
In addition to the mandatory 10 sports, it is reported, the organisers have opted for judo, table tennis, wrestling, gymnastics, diving, cycling, and three-a-side basketball for the seven optional games.
Peter Hannon, spokesperson of Commonwealth Games England, said the decision to exclude shooting was taken considering that Birmingham does not have proper facilities for the sport.
“It’s a decision that the bid organisers made rather than just Commonwealth Games England. The Birmingham bid made an assessment of all the optional sports following which they picked the sport which can take place close to Birmingham,” Hannon had told The Indian Express. “We’d like as many people to be a part of the Games but obviously, you are limited on the number of athletes and sport, so that forced some difficult choices.”
For cricket crazy Indians, however, the Birmingham Games may feature a mixed gender T20 competition.
The Indian Olympic Association secretary-general Rajiv Mehta on Wednesday had told national daily Indian express the IOA was considering to present a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. “We received a communication from them (Commonwealth Games Federation) today (Wednesday). Our president and members are discussing the issue,” the paper had quoted Mehta as saying.
Hours later, the Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin had announced the “unanimous” decision to allot the Games to Birmingham. “We warmly congratulate Birmingham and England on today’s announcement – it is a defining moment for this truly Commonwealth city,” Louse said.
The Games were originally allotted to Durban as the South African city was left as the only applicant after the Canadian city Edmonton had withdrawn its bid in September 2015. However, in March last year, the Commonwealth Games federation also stripped Durban of its rights to host the Games as the city had cited financial constraints.
Shooting first featured at the Kingston Commonwealth Games in 1966 and it has been part of all editions since 1974. India has been a dominating force when it comes to shooting at the Commonwealth Games. At the 2014 edition in Glasgow, India won a total of 17 medals, which included four golds. When New Delhi hosted the Games in 2010, India topped the overall medals tally in shooting, winning a total of 30 medals — 14 golds, 11 silvers and 5 bronzes.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Commonwealth Games are scheduled from April 4 to 15 in Gold Coast, Australia.