Uncertainty over C’wealth shooting, archery events

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Deepankar Sharda

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4

As medals at the Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships, scheduled to be held here in January next year, will not be added to the main tally of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG), the charm around hosting two competitions has diminished.

Earlier, The Tribune confirmed that the Commonwealth Games Federation had reportedly communicated to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that medals won at the Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships to be held in Chandigarh would not be added to the main tally of the Birmingham CWG.

IOA secretary general Rajiv Mehta added to doubts when he said, “It’ll be difficult to host the two events in Chandigarh as only seven months are left to prepare for the competitions. Besides, there is a large number of population still to be vaccinated against Covid in the UT.”

Last year, just after the announcement about Chandigarh hosting the games, the UT Administration had started preparing for the event. Officials were awaiting visits from IOA representatives. But the second Covid wave seems to have derailed all plans.

The Administration had planned to conduct the shooting championships at the Sector 25-based Patiala-ki-Rao Range and the archery competition at an open or close space, depending on discussions with IOA officials.

It was also proposed to get more land and renovate the Sector 25 shooting range.

Hosting championships would have helped the city develop world class sports infrastructure and bring it on the international sporting map.

“We were expecting to reap benefits from these games by getting infrastructure for local sportspersons. If the championships were to be held, the IOA would have come up with a world class system here,” said a coach.

“Both shooting and archery are among the neglected sports in Chandigarh. We have just one shooting range and that too is under the Chandigarh Police. Archery is limited to a couple of places – Lake Sports Complex and Panjab University. Conducting this major event could have given us the best for the rest of our lives,” the coach added.

“Even if they decide to conduct the event in the coming days, it won’t be possible to develop world-class infrastructure at such a short notice,” said another coach.

IOA chief Narinder Dhruv Batra was in the city recently. Though on a personal visit, people concerned with the development of sports could have discussed the issue with him. However, they were busy in a “show of strength” and getting the hold over the Chandigarh Olympic Association.

“National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh admitted in an interview that everything will be taken care of. He claimed that on paper everything was planned and ensured to conduct the International Shooting Sport Federation Junior World Cup here in Chandigarh (after the Commonwealth Shooting Championship). But will all this happen? If the city has so much land to build a proper infrastructure then why wait for hosting an international championship?” asked an official, seeking anonymity.

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