CHENNAI: THE Commonwealth Games Federation’s call to accept the Birmingham delegation’s recommendation of leaving shooting out from the 2022 CWG created a stir in India. Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary general Rajeev Mehta even mulled boycotting the Games.
However, on Tuesday, sports minister Kiren Rijiju said that the IOA cannot take a unilateral decision such as this. Rijiju further added that he will discuss the issue with National Rifle Association of India (NRA) and IOA before taking a call. “I haven’t discussed with the shooting federation. Officially, I don’t know about their position yet. If you have to boycott the Games, you have to ask the government because these decisions are not to be taken unilaterally, it has to be done through proper consultation,” Rijiju said during an interaction in New Delhi.
Another issue that was discussed was about the factional feuds going on between certain federations like the Archery Association of India (AAI) and Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI). Rijiju sent a strong warning to those in power stating that he won’t tolerate mismanagement in national federations. “Govt cannot intervene or intrude in the running of federations but we will not be a mute spectator if a sport is destroyed by mismanagement in any federation,” Rijiju said.
The two warring AAI factions recently elected two presidents, forcing World Archery to de-list the national federation as its member and warn it to either get its house in order by July 31 or face suspension. “What happened in archery, there are certain directions given by the court and after that, the two factions did something which is not proper. But whatever it may be, we will ask them to work in tandem with the court directive and the interest of the players should not suffer,” Rijiju said.
As far as gymnastics is concerned, the two factions in GFI has been de-recognised by IOA since 2012. While Rijiju is yet to look into the issue, he said the sports secretary will meet them soon to ensure that none of the athletes suffer.
The long-pending issue of National Sports Code also came up and the minister played it safe. “After I took over, I haven’t gone through the entire provisions, and there is a matter in the court also, so if the new sports code has to be adopted it has to be done through proper consultations with stakeholders. I want to work with all the federations and IOA. We are one, we don’t have contradictory interests or ideas, we are working for the interest of sports. It should be done as soon as possible but whenever we do it we will do it in consultation.”
Rijiju also met with the women’s hockey team who qualified for the qualifiers of the Tokyo Olympics after reaching the final of the FIH Series Finals in Japan (they went on to win the meet, beating Japan). He also said that they will be provided with all the required facilities to reach the quadrennial meet.