IOA hits back at Commonwealth Games Federation’s Asia region officials for questioning Narinder Batra’s right to boycott CWG

The Indian Olympic Association has hit back at the Commonwealth Games Federation’s Asia region top officials for questioning its president Narinder Batra’s right to call for the boycott of the 2022 CWG for excluding shooting from the roster.

 IOA hits back at Commonwealth Games Federations Asia region officials for questioning Narinder Batras right to boycott CWG

File image of IOA president Narinder Batra. Getty images

The minutes of the meeting of the CGF Asia region, which met at the sidelines of the CGF General Assembly in Rwanda on 3 September, had said that Batra “cannot speak for the country (India)” when he proposed the Games’ boycott.

The minutes of the meeting, which was attended by CGF chief Louise Martin and chief executive David Grevemberg, were sent to the IOA from the office of CGF’s Asian region vice president Chris Chan.

The IOA shot back a strongly-worded letter to Chan, condemning the statement of the CGF and terming it “unwarranted.”

“With reference to minutes of Asia Regional Meeting of Commonwealth Sport held on 3 September 2019, the CGA/NOC India condemns the statement challenging the rights of our president. The recording of such a statement was unwarranted and we hope needful corrections would be made soon,” IOA Secretary General, Rajeev Mehta wrote in the letter.

“Although CGA/NOC India has been overlooked many times despite the fact that India is the only nation in Asia that has hosted the CWG in the last two decades, we have maintained a cordial relationship with the office of CGF and all member countries in the region,” he added.

Mehta said Batra is authorised (to call the boycott) and has full powers to speak on behalf of commonwealth sport in India.

“… it is supported by the Executive Council and General Body of CGA/NOC India. The President of CGA/NOC India, who is also president of International Hockey Federation (FIH) and member of International Olympic Committee (IOC), is a known international sports administrator. The recent communication with regard to exclusion of shooting from the sports programme of Birmingham 2011 was not essentially a reflection of our position on commonwealth sport but it was the anguish of a billion people,” Mehta wrote.

The minutes of CGF’s Asia region signed by Chan said, “Asia expressed disappointment that India has questioned the relevance of the Commonwealth and took the stand they did, and said that the NOC/GCA president cannot speak for the country.

“Asia should stay cohesive as a group, India should have spoken to the region before taking a boycott decision.”

In the meeting, Grevemberg had asked Asia region for help and support to engage with India so as to help the country (India) embrace CGF’s strategies. “Louise Martin and David Grevemberg updated that ISSF does not recognise Commonwealth Games as a ranking event for shooting and that the sport had the opportunity to be part of the Games with a smaller programme,” the minutes said.

“The CGF does not have a disciplinary process in place for India, and does not run shooting so ISSF must take responsibility. The cost of shooting competition held in Glasgow 2014 was 22 million pound.”

In an unprecedented move, the IOA had in July proposed boycott of the 2022 Birmingham CWG for dropping shooting from the roster, and sought the government’s approval.

In its Executive Board meeting in June, the CGF left out shooting from the 2022 Birmingham Games while recommending the inclusion of three new sports.

The decision to leave out shooting has dealt a big blow to India which had won as many as 16 medals out of 66 in the 2018 Gold Coast CWG.

The sport has featured in every Commonwealth Games since 1966 with the exception of Edinburgh 1970.

The CGF, however, had taken the position that it was the host nation’s prerogative to decide the fate of shooting, which has always been an optional sport in the CWG.

Updated Date: Sep 21, 2019 20:03:41 IST

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