Bengaluru, April 18: National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) President Raninder Singh has asked the country's shooters boycott the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG) in the wake of organisers' decision to drop the discipline from the programme.
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 to drop it from the programme for 2022 Games.
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.
Speaking at a function in New Delhi to felicitate the Indian shooters, Raninder said, "Within a day or two, I'm going to write to the Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and will urge them to boycott the 2022 CWG if shooting is not re-included in the games.
Sports Minister 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.
Raninder, also wants to take up the issue with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who is scheduled to arrive in Delhi soon.
"It's absolutely unfair that a major Olympic discipline is being treated in such a shabby manner by the Birmingham CWG organisers.
"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," Raninder added.
It may be recalled that the CGF had decided to exclude shooting from the 2022 Games, citing logistical issues.
In a letter to the 2022 Games organisers earlier this year, CGF CEO David Grevemberg had said, "Shooting will not feature at the 2022 CWG and the CGF has awarded the Games supporting these plans."
Grevemberg though made it clear that the sport was not being scrapped, insisting that it remained in the optional category, which a host city can pick in a particular CWG.
Raninder also said that the NRAI was in constant touch with the International Shooting Sport Federation, the CGF as well as with the Birmingham Games organising committee to work out ways in which the sport can still be included.
(With inputs from Agencies)