Heena Sidhu Backs 2022 CWG Boycott, Feels India Needs to Stand for Shooting
Heena Sidhu said that England as the CWG 2022 hosts were not willing to spend money on sports that will not give them much in return.
File photo of Heena Sidhu. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
New Delhi: Indian shooter Heena Sidhu on Sunday said that though boycott is a strong word to use but if we do not stand for shooting at this moment when the sports has been excluded from 2022 Commonwealth Games, any other sport could meet the same fate.
Her remarks came after Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra wrote to Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju, urging India to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in the UK due to the exclusion of shooting.
"I know boycott is a very strong word to use because for one sport we can not let others suffer. But at the same time, if we do not stand for shooting now, it could happen to some other sport," Sidhu told ANI.
"Last year when we came to know about shooting not being there in CWG our federation president was upset with it. He tried very hard to get shooting back in CWG," Sidhu added.
National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) secretary Rajeev Bhatia and General Secretary DV Seetharama Rao on Sunday said the NRAI has faith in the IOA and will back whatever decision they take.
"I know he had tried a lot to get shooting back in CWG and at that time we were so angry. NRAI president also urged the Indian government and the IOA to stand behind shooting and if needed boycott the Games," Sidhu said.
"So at that time everybody had the same emotion because it was new news and unexpected, we have won so many medals in the sport and to come to know of the exclusion like this (was a shock)," she added.
The 29-year-old Sidhu won two medals in the 21st Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, last year. She first clinched silver in the women's 10m Air Pistol category before adding a gold in women's 25m air pistol event.
According to Sidhu, if shooting will be excluded from CWG it will affect India's ranking in the competition.
"It is not just about shooting but also about India's ranking in CWG. Our rank will be low if shooting is removed and we are not worthy of that rank as we deserve more," Sidhu said.
In 2010 CWG, India had finished second in overall medals tally and total medals won in shooting alone were 30. In 2018, India had finished third with 16 medals in shooting.
"India is the country which always takes the biggest contingent for shooting in CWG. Other countries are also suffering because of this and they want India to fight for it. India has the muscle for shooting," Sidhu said.
She opined that England wants games that their people want to see on TV and for that they are backing women's cricket in CWG.
"At the same time England is bringing cricket in CWG and that too women's cricket and I do not know why did they not bring men's cricket. So, I personally feel that England is trying to bring games in CWG which their people like to watch on television. They do not want to spend money from where they do not get a return and you cannot think like this in sports," Sidhu said.
"I would love it if people come to support us from other sports as well and we will be very thankful to them. It is also about sportsmanship as we all are from same fraternity," she concluded.
Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is scheduled to take place from July 27 to August 7.
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