After India proposed to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games for the absence of shooting, Australia could soon follow suit by for the same reason. Former Australia shooting manager Jan Linsley has stated that England’s claim of logistical concerns in organizing shooting events was not credible.
The matter first blew out of proportion when the CWG revealed that the Birmingham Games wouldn’t have shooting as a competition, since it was an optional sport, meaning that it wouldn’t be featuring at the prestigious event for the first time since 1970.
IOA’s Narinder Batra was vocal about the issue and even sought approval from Sports Ministry Kiren Rijiju to boycott the tournament. Apart from him, ace shooters like Heena Sidhu, Olympian Joydeep Karmakar, and World University champion Gauri Sheoran raised their voice.
And now, Shooters Union Australia (SUA), a lobby group claiming to represent thousands of firearm owners and enthusiasts across Australia, which has also been affiliated to the National Rifle Association in the US, could be on their way to do the same.
Winning nine medals, including three gold medals, in shooting at the Gold Coast CWG in 2018 last year, the Aussie had the second-highest tally after India and shooting has been one of their strong suits.
“Australia should stand with India in demanding the shooting events be returned to the 2022 Commonwealth Games line-up, and be prepared to carry through with a boycott if they are not,” said SUA President Graham Park, reported IANS.
“Australia is well-known for their sporting talents at the global stage and arbitrarily denying the top shooters gives our athletes the message that ‘the government doesn’t think your sport matters’, it dramatically lowers our potential medal count and thus our national prestige,” he added.
Former manager of Australia’s CWG shooting team, Jan Linsley has even discredited CGF’s claims of organizing shooting being a logistical issue. "The decision not to include shooting in Birmingham would directly impact the development and future of Australian shooters," Linsley said.