NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will participate in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham reversing earlier plans to boycott the event over the absence of shooting as a medal sport, the country’s Olympic association and the Games organisers announced on Monday.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had threatened to boycott the Games after shooting — which supplied 16 of their 66 medals at the 2018 Gold Coast Games — was dropped from the Birmingham programme as it is an optional sport for host cities.
India finished third in last year’s medals table but in the absence of shooting, they could slip to anywhere between fifth and eighth place in 2022, according to IOA estimates.
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Louise Martin and chief executive David Grevemberg met IOA officials in New Delhi last month and returned home convinced India would not take such a drastic step.
The IOA, after its annual general meeting, not only confirmed India’s Birmingham participation but also revealed plans to bid for the 2026 or the 2030 edition of the Games.
“The house together reviewed and decided on governance matters and other agendas, including the decision to participate in the #Birmingham2022 #CommonwealthGames,” the IOA tweeted.
“In the AGM, the house also decided on India’s bid to host the 2026/2030 #CommonwealthGames and reviewed the progress in India’s offer to host the 2023 IOC Session,” it said in another tweet.
India hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
Martin welcomed the development, which would be a big relief for the CGF.
“The CGF and the entire Commonwealth Sport Movement are delighted India has confirmed their intent to participate at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games...” she said in a statement.
“Following a useful and constructive CGF visit to India in November, we felt confident and reassured that the athletes and sports community of India places huge value and importance on the Commonwealth Games.
“Finally, we are delighted that India have expressed an ambition to host another Commonwealth Games in the future.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Christian Radnedge