BY LIAM MORGAN
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra has reignited suggestions the country will boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after claiming the event is a “waste of time and money”.
India is considering not sending a delegation to Birmingham 2022 in protest at shooting’s omission from the programme.
But Batra, who is due to meet officials from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in India on November 14, has hinted there are other reasons behind the potential boycott.
The IOA President, made an International Olympic Committee member in June, criticised what he claims is a low standard of competition at the Commonwealth Games.
“I feel there is not sufficient level of competition, leaving aside two or three sports,” Batra told Agence France-Presse.
“It doesn’t leave anyone anywhere with this low level of competition.”
In an interview with the Indian Express, Batra added: “These Games have no standard.
“For me, these are a waste of time and money.
“We win 70 medals, 100 medals at the Commonwealth Games while at the Olympics, we get stuck at two [medals at the Rio Olympics].
“That means the level of competition isn’t high at the Commonwealth Games.
“It’s not a ranking tournament either.
“So why waste time?
“We should rather go to better competitions and prepare for the Olympics.
President Dame Louise Martin is set to lead the CGF delegation, which will also include chief executive David Grevemberg, to India in November.
In a letter to Batra, seen by insidethegames, Dame Louise highlights three topics they will discuss with Batra and IOC secretary general Rajeev Mehta when they meet in Delhi.
India’s boycott is not directly listed but is certain to be raised during the CGF visit, also likely to include a meeting with Indian Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
Dame Louise claimed the purpose of the visit is to “provide any further clarification necessary on the composition and process for determining the Commonwealth Games Sports Programme, recognising the concerns raised by India”.
Legacy from the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi is also on the agenda, along with meetings with “athletes, regional sport bodies and federations in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to present and discuss Transformation 2022 refresh: The Commonwealth sport strategic plan (2019-2022) and India’s engagement moving forward”.
Shooting, while not a compulsory Commonwealth Games sport, has been part of every event since Kingston 1966, with the exception of Edinburgh 1970.
India has traditionally been strong in the sport, winning 16 medals, including seven gold medals, at Gold Coast 2018.
Birmingham 2022 claimed it did not have the facilities to accommodate shooting and was not prepared to host it at the Bisley National Shooting Centre, more than 130 miles away.
Grevemberg claimed that some of the blame for shooting being dropped from the programme for only the second time in 56 years was down to the International Shooting Sport Federation.
insidethegames has asked the CGF for a response to Batra’s comments.