Chandigarh medals will not depend for CWG: IOA’s Mehta

Vinayak Padmadeo

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, May 29

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has reportedly communicated to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that the medals won at next year’s Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships will not be added to the main tally of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. This development has opened old wounds in the IOA, with members blaming president Narinder Batra for this.

After shooting and archery were excluded from the Birmingham CWG programme, on the initiative of Indian officials, the Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships was decided to be held in Chandigarh, with claims that medals won in this event would be added to the CWG tally.

In March 2020, The Tribune had reported that the medals won at the Chandigarh event would not be added to the Birmingham CWG tally.

No addition

According to IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta, CGF informed about this non-inclusion during a Zoom meeting this week.

Mehta notified this development to IOA’s executive members on IOA’s WhatsApp group today. Mehta sought comments from the members on the feasibility of organising the Chandigarh event as medals won there would not be added to the final CWG tally.

“…It was further mentioned that India can have these events in India itself but the medal tally will be considered in the Commonwealth Games of Birmingham. However, we were assured by the President that in her capacity she would pass the bill in the general house,” Mehta wrote on IOA’s WhatsApp group, adding: “…Unfortunately which was not the case and thus, we received the message which stated that the bill could not pass and that this could no longer be executed as planned. This message was received in a Zoom meeting which was attended by IOA President and I together. This has been disheartening and unforeseeable news for us as well as the entire IOA family, we are all in this together (sic),” he added.

After this Mehta wrote another post, saying: “…In this present scenario the IOA is hardly managing the preparation of the Indian contingent’s participation in the Tokyo Olympic Games which will be held in July/August this year. We feel there is very less time left to make arrangements to conduct the Commonwealth 2022 Archery & Shooting Championships in India. Therefore we request for the views of the members of the IOA Executive Council on conduct of this championship (sic).”

Nothing has changed: CGF

When reached, a CGF spokesperson said that nothing has changed since the agreement for the Chandigarh event was announced.

“As stated in February 2020, one week following the Closing Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the CGF shall issue a medal table that includes results from the 2022 Commonwealth Archery and Shooting Championships, as a further and final legitimate ranking of competing nations and territories from the respective competitions,” the CGF said in a statement today.

CGF added that considering the uncertain Covid-19 situation in India, it would be up to the IOA and relevant authorities in India to rule on whether the event can safely take place.

War of words

The development has not gone down well with the IOA brass, and several executive members — including vice-presidents Sudhanshu Mittal and Anil Khanna — have hit out at IOA chief Narinder Batra for keeping the deliberations with the CGF to himself.

“The IOA secretariat has no record of the deliberations that was held between IOA president Mr Batra and the CGF. The persons who started the deliberations with her (CGF head Louise Martin) were sidelined,” Mittal told The Tribune. “Mr Batra does not communicate on his own behalf, he does it on IOA’s behalf, so this communication cannot be the personal property of the president. What has happened today is humiliating,” he added.

Batra was unavailable for comments.

‘IOA not liable’

Khanna, the chairman of the IOA Finance Committee, has clarified that if the Chandigarh event is cancelled, the IOA cannot be held liable. “This is to confirm that the IOA Finance Committee has not been presented with any financial proposal or budget for these two events. In case of cancellation I am of the opinion that there cannot be any claim on IOA from CWG Federation,” Khanna wrote.

Mittal said since the deliberations were led by Batra in his personal capacity, the IOA president should pay the arrears if there is any financial liability arising out of the event’s cancellation.

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