New Delhi, May 30 (PTI) The Indian Olympic Association is yet to ratify the hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships for the lack of an in-person meeting amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which might also make it 'really difficult' to conduct these events.
IOA Secretary General Rajiv Mehta also said that it will be really difficult to host the two events, in Chandigarh, seven months from now given the severity of the COVID-19 situation and the pending vaccination of billions of people.
'We need a physical meeting of the Executive Committee or General House (of the IOA) to formally ratify the championships and plan for them accordingly. But the pandemic has not allowed us to have a physical meeting so far,' Mehta told PTI.
'Regarding the venue also, some in archery (association) want it in Delhi instead of Chandigarh. So, nothing has been decided and the pandemic has made it really difficult for us.' The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had in February last year agreed to add the medals from these two events to the final CWG tally one week after the conclusion of the event following India's threat to pull out of the Birmingham Games.
'The IOA members will need to discuss the feasibility of hosting these two events in January next year and nobody knows when this pandemic will get over,' Mehta said.
'I don't know how many Indians will be vaccinated in seven months from now. How many countries will send their athletes to India if the pandemic continues till then? The Commonwealth family has 72 countries and hosting two big events is no joke.
'There is talk of possibility of a third wave and the precautions the people and the countries will have to take. Should we plan for two big two international competitions during that time? These are the things the IOA members will have to consider.' The CGF, when contacted by PTI, said, 'ultimately, it will be a decision for the IOA and the relevant authorities in India to rule on whether the event can safely take place.' 'We are very mindful of the impact the pandemic is having in India while the safety and security of Commonwealth athletes due to compete at the event will be a top priority for the CGF and the IOA.' Mehta said the CGF has not told the IOA that the medals from the shooting and archery championships will not be added to the final tally of the 2022 CWG in Birmingham.
'These two events are to be organised, planned and financed by the national federations and the government, not by the CGF. The question is: should we go ahead and start planning in the middle of a pandemic and later find there are no takers?' Scrapping these two events may mean that India's medal tally in the 2022 Birmingham Games gets severely reduced as the country is used to a big medal haul in shooting.
Asked about such a scenario, Mehta said: 'That was why we (IOA) had worked really hard to get these shooting and archery championships in India to have the medals counted. But we had not anticipated this pandemic.
'Now, it is purely a question of feasibility as well as the health and safety of the athletes.' In July 2019, the IOA had proposed to boycott the 2022 Birmingham CWG for dropping shooting from the roster.
But, following a visit by CGF President Louise Martin and then CEO David Grevemberg in November last, the IOA withdrew its warning during the Annual General Body Meeting in December 2019.
While the cost for the shooting championship is to be met largely by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), the archery event would be funded solely by the Government of India. PTI PDS PM PM