Heena Sidhu: India a big nation to put up a united front against CWG organisers
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) last month threatened to boycott the 2022 CWG in Birmingham if shooting is not included
New Delhi: Pistol ace Heena Sidhu yesterday said India is a "big" enough nation to put up a "united front" against the 2022 Commonwealth Games organisers' move to exclude shooting from its roster.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) last month threatened to boycott the 2022 CWG in Birmingham if shooting is not included, something the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) also talked about last year. Heena though added that nothing should be done at the cost of athletes' participation. Asked if pulling out is an option, she said, "I think it has happened before. We have backed out in the past. India is a big nation and we can throw our weight behind this," she said. "Other sportspersons should not suffer. They need to participate, but at the same time, we should put up an united front," Heena told PTI. She disagreed with the organising committee's decision and expressed concerns over the sport's future.
Heena, the first pistol shooter from India to win a gold medal in World Cup Finals, though called shooting a "flourishing sport" in the country. Birmingham, in the UK, will be hosting the 2022 CWG Games. "It's not right. The reasons they gave, of not having legacy in shooting and problems with range, are not convincing," Heena said.
"They [local organising committee] could have built a makeshift range. Shooting is not considered and women's T20 cricket is in. This, they said, was done keeping in mind gender equality. Then why not men's cricket also," she asked. She is relieved that the sport is part of the Olympic programme at least till the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
"The International Shooting Sport Federation and NRAI [National Rifle Association of India] are making a lot of effort for the sport's sustenance.
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