IOA withdraws threat to boycott 2022 CWG

Batra recuses himself from panel to liaison with the ministry on Sports Code

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The Indian Olympic Association, which met on Monday for its Annual General Meeting in the freezing capital, decided to further thaw its relationship with the Commonwealth Games Federation by announcing formal withdrawal of its threat to not participate in the Birmingham 2022 games over non-inclusion of shooting as an event. Announcing the decision post the meeting, IOA president Narinder Dhruv Batra said that he was hopeful and confident that the CGF and Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee will accede to its request to hold CGF championships in shooting and archery outside England but include medals won in the final CWG tally. 

Asked how hopeful he was of pushing through the proposal with the CGF, Batra said: “I don’t want to pre-empt anything by saying more right now. Things will happen in March 2020. We shall cross the bridge when we come to it.” However, he did concur that “we cannot force the events on anybody”. Asked about the chances of CWG Organising Committee agreeing to its requests, Batra said, “It is the host country’s prerogative to decide which events should be included or excluded”. 

On the Sports Code issue, Rajeev Mehta, IOA secretary general, said, “The 2007 Sports Code is not acceptable to us. The [sports] ministry has formed a new committee. We shall also have a committee of senior members to consult and liaison with the ministry on the same matter.”

Batra was then asked why the 2017 Sports Code was rejected when he himself was a member and signatory to it. He clarified that he was a member only on his capacity as the International Hockey Federation president and there was no IOA representative in it. 

He, however, stated he was recusing himself from any committee of IOA that would discuss and liaison with the ministry on Sports Code due to his earlier position. “I was there as FIH president. I went to discuss the good practices followed by FIH, nothing else. They did not include that bit in the Code,” he said, adding he would not say anything more on the matter as it was sub-judice. Reportedly, many of Batra's colleagues in the IOA were upset that he had signed the 2017 Sports Code.

Meanwhile, Mehta also announced that the IOA had decided to bid for 2026 Youth Olympic games and Commonwealth Games as well as 2030 CWG and Asian Games, hoping to get at least one of each.