Sushil Kumar, Simranjit Kaur Differ on 2022 CWG Boycott Proposal Over Shooting's Exclusion
Shooting's exclusion from 2022 Commonwealth Games has let to Indian Olympic Association contemplating boycott of the event.
Representative image of the sport of shooting. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Wrestler Sushil Kumar on Wednesday opined that athletes will suffer if India boycotts Commonwealth Games (CWG). "I think other athletes will suffer, sports will suffer," Sushil told ANI.
The Olympic silver-medallist asserted that India can improve their medal tally at CWG by performing well in other sports. He also urged the Sports Ministry and India Olympic Association (IOA) to reconsider the proposal of boycotting CWG.
"It's true we win medals in shooting in Commonwealth Games and this (excluding shooting) will lower our position in the medal tally. But we're also performing well in other sports. We can compensate for medals by focusing on other sports. I urge Sports Ministry and IOA to review this," he added.
Sushil said that in 2006 CWG held in Melbourne, Australia, wrestling was not the part of the event and still we played there. "In 2006 Commonwealth Games, wrestling was not there and still India participated in the games," Sushil said.
When questioned about his Olympic bid, he replied nothing is "guaranteed" and that he enjoys wrestling which is why he is still playing.
"Now I'm training with my new Russian coach and with him, I believe I'm doing great. I'm ready for the Olympic Qualification trials and working hard with my coaches for upcoming games," Kumar said.
"In 1998 I won a gold medal in the Cadet but I have been wrestling since 1992-93. We are very close to winning gold in the Olympics and we are practicing for it," he added.
He also underlined that Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and Sports Authority of India (SAI) are helping athletes in every possible way. "Practice for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is going great under the leadership of Union Youth and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and SAI. Every athlete is practicing hard to win an Olympic medal for the country. Everything you want for as an athlete you get it on time and Rijiju himself is monitoring the athletes' requirement," Sushil concluded.
Earlier, Indian shooter Heena Sidhu said that "boycott is a strong word to use but if we do not stand for shooting today, it could happen to any other sports as well."
Also on Wednesday, Indian boxer Simranjit Kaur said the country should participate in the Commonwealth Games(CWG) 2022 only if shooting is part of the event in the UK.
Simranjit, who recently won a gold medal in 60kg category at 23rd President's Cup in Indonesia, said because of shooting India's medal tally rises and its absence will affect the total number of medals.
"Shooting has given a lot of medals to India. Because of them (shooters), our medal tally goes up. I think the absence of shooting will affect our medal tally. We should participate (in CWG 2022) only if shooting is part of the event," Simranjit told ANI.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra last week wrote a letter to the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju, urging him to boycott the CWG 2022 due to the exclusion of shooting.
Simranjit shifted from 64kg to 60kg. When asked about her transition, the Indian boxer said she watched the videos of her opponents and changed tactics in training to prepare and adjust herself to the 60kg.
"Before this (President's Cup), I was in 64 kg category but it isn't an Olympic weight. So, I had to shift to 60 kg. It was a start for me in 60 kg. I had to do well and get a medal in this category," she said.
"It is an Olympic weight so the competition is there. I had to change tactics in training. I watched videos of my opponents on YouTube to prepare for the competition," she added.
Simranjit acknowledged six-time world champion Mary Kom's contribution to the game, saying the legend motivated the Indian contingent at the President's Cup. She added that she had a good experience with Mary while practicing for the tournament.
"She (Mary) is a legend. She was with us in this competition. She motivated everybody a lot. It was a good experience to practice with her. I feel lucky to have her," Simranjit said.
The Indian boxer said that she is focussing on her next target, World Championship. Simranjit stressed that she is taking one step at a time.
"Although I have shifted to 60 kg there are a lot of things on which I have to work. My next target is the World Championship. I'll take one step at a time," she said.
Simranjit said the biggest challenge in the sport is the mindset, adding one has to decide how to play and follow a proper diet. She conveyed thanks to the government for supporting the athletes financially. "The biggest challenge is the mindset. One has to decide how to play and focus on diet as well. Government is supporting all of us financially," she concluded.
In 2010 CWG, India had finished second in overall medals tally and total medals won in the shooting were 30. In 2018, India had finished third with 16 medals in shooting.
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