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Commonwealth Federation CEO hopeful of shooting’s reintegration before 2026 Games

By PTI

BIRMINGHAM: Providing some relief to the Indian shooting fraternity, Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) CEO Katie Sadleir on Thursday expressed optimism about reintegrating the sport into its programme before the 2026 edition in Victoria.

Shooting, along with wrestling, disciplines in which India normally wins the bulk of its medals at the Games, didn’t make it to the initial list of the 16 sports picked for the Games in the Australian state of Victoria.

However, hours before the 2022 Birmingham Games were to begin, Sadleir said the disciplines would come up for discussion in September before the final list is announced.

“We have recently announced an initial programme with 16 sports, with the definite ambition to grow that programme,” Sadleir replied to a query by PTI at the pre-Games media conference.

“There currently is an expression of interest out there with the international federations that are currently not in the programme have been invited to put forward their proposals for considerations, and shooting is definitely on the case,” she added.

Shooting, which accounted for 16 of the 66 medals India bagged at the Gold Coast Games four years ago, was omitted from the ongoing Games at Birmingham, leading to a strong protest by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

There was more setback for India when the sport again did not find itself on the list of events for the 2026 Games along with wrestling where the nation had topped the medals tally in 2018.

A former CWG medallist and an Olympian, Sadleir said there’s a strong wave of interest for the two disciplines’ inclusion.

“I know there’s a significant amount of social media going on in Australia, plus the international federation, has made it clear that they are going to put forward a very strong case for consideration,” the Scotland-born New Zealander said.

“That will come to CGF consideration in September with the idea to have a final list of programmes to be announced by the end of the year.

It’s definitely not a decision-making point now, and we are working with the International Shooting Federation (ISSF) on what that may look like,” she said.

Women’s T20I at CWG perfect launchpad for the Olympics. The 22nd edition of the Games will mark the debut of women’s cricket (T20I format), and Kate said the response so far has been overwhelming, making a strong case for the sport’s entry into the Olympics.

“I think that’s — women’s cricket — going to be one of the highlights of this Games. Everyone is looking forward to it,” the 57-year-old said.

After her dinner with the ICC members after their general assembly here a couple of days ago, she said: “All the captains spoke about how important these Games are for them being a multi-sport event.

“They are very, very impressive on-field leaders. I know that the international cricket community is here en masse to actually look at what is going to be a spectacular introduction to a multi-sport event. We will see. They do have the ambition to get into the Olympics. That’s a strategy that ICC will be driving rather than the CGF, we are very happy to have them with us at CWG.”

Close to 1.3 million tickets sold The buzz seemed to be missing initially, but Birmingham 2022 CEO Ian disagreed, and said the ticket response has been overwhelming, and they are on track to surpass the tally of Gold Coast.

“We are on track to be the largest CWG in the UK in terms of ticket sales. We have just overtaken the last edition in Gold Coast. We are pretty close to having sold about 1.3 million tickets. There is a huge appetite in the city. We have the largest sports programme. There’s a huge uptake of tickets. We are very much hoping that we will be capacity or near capacity for the majority of sports,” Reid said.

CWG brings people together on the relevance of the Games, CGF president Louise Martin said: “This is an organisation that embraces 72 nations. We just had a general assembly and one of the challenges for us is to make sure that the Games stay absolutely relevant to the youth.”

“IOC and we are family, we also speak the same language. We are all in this together. Some speak of colonialism but we don’t know what it is, CGF thinks we are unique, we are together.” Kate added: “One of our taglines of ours is that ‘we work with everyone — be it small islands or one of the largest countries like India.

“We bring people together to bring issues. It’s very relevant to us to bring the world to our door,” Birmingham 2022 Chair John Crabtree summed it up.

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