Bindra says boycotting CWG won't win India 'influence'

Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra on Sunday said he is not in favour of boycotting the 2022 Commonwealth Games, instead urging the Indian Olympic Association to work towards getting shooting included as a core sport in CWG programme.

In an unprecedented move, the IOA on Saturday proposed boycott of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games for dropping shooting from the roster, and sought the government’s approval through a letter to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.

However, former world champion Bindra, who also claimed a historic gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, thinks such a move will not win India “influence”.

“Boycotts don’t win you influence. They just make you irrelevant and punish other athletes. Would be far better if IOA did a campaign to load the CWG committees with their people and allies and push for the inclusion of shooting onto the core list of sports for the future,” Bindra wrote on his Twitter handle.

Shooting is an optional sport in the CWG and the CGF has taken the position that it was the host nation’s prerogative whether to include the sport or not.

In a letter to Rijiju, the IOA president Narinder Batra requested him for an early meeting to deliberate on the proposal.

“We have been noticing over a period of time that wherever India seems to be getting grip of the game and performing well, then somehow we find that either the goal posts are shifted or rules are changed. We feel it is time for us in IOA/India to start asking tough questions and start taking tough positions,” Batra wrote in his letter.

The development came a day after the IOA pulled out of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) General Assembly, to be held in Rwanda in September, protesting the dropping of shooting from the 2022 CWG roster.

On Sunday, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said it supports the IOA’s proposal to boycott the 2022 CWG. Reacting to the IOA’s proposal to boycott the Games, the Commonwealth Games Federation said it “absolutely” wants India to participate in the 2022 Birmingham CWG.