April 18, 2018 / 6:13 AM / a month ago

Indian shooting chief wants country to boycott Birmingham Commonwealth Games

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s shooting federation chief wants the country to boycott the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the wake of organisers’ decision to drop the discipline from the programme in 2022.

Flags lie on seats before the announcement of the 2022 Commonwealth Games winning bid in Birmingham, Britain December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Shooting, which has featured at every Games since 1966 with the exception of Edinburgh in 1970, is an optional sport for host cities and media reports have cited a lack of suitable facilities as the reason behind Birmingham’s decision.

Its absence will have a big impact on India’s medal haul in 2022 as Indian shooters accounted for 16 of their 66 medals, including seven golds, at the just-concluded Gold Coast Games.

“It’s absolutely unfair that a major Olympic discipline is being treated in such a shabby manner by the Birmingham CWG organisers,” National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh told local media.

“India is a strong nation in shooting and they can’t take away the sport from us. I would request the Indian government to boycott the Games.”

Singh wants to take up the issue with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who is scheduled to arrive in Delhi later on Wednesday.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a double trap silver medallist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, has also written to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) requesting a review of the decision.

More than 56,000 people have signed a petition asking CGF to reinstate shooting at the Birmingham Games.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford

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