CGAJ president Paul du Feu is preparing for intricate discussions with senior officials in the coming months following a bid from the Asian powerhouse to bring shooting back out of the cold for 2022. The sport has been dropped from the mainstream schedule for the first time since 1970, with women’s cricket, beach volleyball and para table tennis instead being added to Birmingham 2022 listings.
India, who won 16 shooting medals at Gold Coast 2018, threatened to boycott the Games completely when the exclusion was announced, although they have now voted in favour of competing and want to stage a tournament on their own turf in March 2022 – four months before the main event. Archery – only included twice before [1982 and 2010] – could also benefit from the plans, which may sit under the Birmingham umbrella and contribute to the overall medals table.
However, despite supporting the proposal in principle, du Feu says there could be substantial financial consequences if official Commonwealth status is attributed.
‘It scares me that there could be a dangerous precedent being set,’ he said. ‘Politically it’s a massive call.
‘There is a lot of support for the idea, particularly given the fact that the Indian government is saying it will do exactly what the hosts of a normal Games would do and pay for food, travel and accommodation.
‘Having a shooting and archery competition where the Indian government is forking out would be marvellous, but whether it should be part of the Games and part of the medals table is another question.
‘If suddenly they are going to a competition that is officially part of the Commonwealth Games, with medals counting towards the overall table, then it opens up a can of worms. I’m not saying it’s a can of worms we can’t deal with but our question would be whether extra funding will be made available [by the Commonwealth Games Federation] to support our archers and shooters before the event.
‘Because we are not an Olympic member our funding doesn’t cover sports that are not in the Commonwealth Games. Our budget for this quadrennial cycle does not include shooting and archery. They are not going to Birmingham so they’re not on our pathway and are not part of our programme.’
He added: ‘And what happens at the next Games if judo or boxing is not in, for example, and a country says they’ll pay for it to go ahead somewhere else? Every time a sport doesn’t get what they want they could just go and create another event.’
Commonwealth Games Federation officials are set to assess the proposal next month before running it by Birmingham chiefs. It would then be put to the 71 member associations for a vote.
Shooting is the only sport ever to provide Team Jersey with a Commonwealth gold medal, via fullbore marksman Colin Mallett in 1990, and brought the Island’s best result in 2018 through 3P shooter Cameron Pirouet (fourth). Mallett also won pairs bronze with his father, Cliff Mallett jnr, 30 years ago.