Sport Minister Kiren Rijiju, on Tuesday (June 25) said that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) cannot take unilateral decision of pulling out of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG) and must consult the government.
In a recent row, the Commonwealth Games Federation left out shooting as an event from the 2022 games’ while recommending the inclusion of three new sports. This is a big blow for India as shooting is the highest medal winner for the country in international events.
In 2018 Gold Coast CWG, 16 out of the 66 medals were brought in by Indian shooters. However, the IOA wanted to write to the Birmingham Organising Committee to reverse their decision regarding the exclusion.
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Rijiju said that the sports ministry will discuss this issue with the National Rifle Association of India and IOA before reaching a decision. “I haven’t discussed with the shooting federation. Officially I don’t know about their position. If you have to boycott, you have to ask the government because these decisions are not to be taken unilaterally, it has to be done through proper consultation,” Rijiju told reporters.
“It is a matter of future of our athletes and national prestige, everything is involved. Our IOA must have taken a stand and we will discuss with them.”
Last year, the IOA submitted a formal expression of interest to bid for the 2032 Olympic Games.
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Asked about the ambitious plan, Rijiju said he was not averse to the idea of hosting big-ticket events but stressed on the need to plan properly to avoid any embarrassment for the nation.
“It is a pride for any nation to host international events, who wouldn’t want to have an Olympics, World Cup or any other international championship. The question is are you prepared for that? and how much you are putting in preparation for that,” Rijiju said.
“You can’t just have an event and then create an embarrassing situation. It is not about hosting the event but hosting it in a befitting manner.
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“There is no doubt as a nation we will feel proud if we can host an Olympics. We are positive and we will discuss with IOA and then we will formulate … these are big decisions and can’t be spoken out in the heat of the moment. Proper planning and through discussion is required.”
The long-pending National Sports Code also came up during the interaction and the Minister was asked about it not seeing the light of the day in the Parliament even now.
“After I took over, I haven’t gone through the entire provisions, and there is a matter in the court also, so if the new sports code has to be adopted it has to be done through proper consultations with stakeholders.