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Bangladesh desperate for shooting inclusion in ‘22 Commonwealth Games

  • Published at 08:33 pm September 18th, 2019
Birmingham

The news not only shocked Abdullah Hel Baki or other Bangladeshi shooters but also the whole shooting arena, especially the 53 Commonwealth countries, and if the decision is not reversed the most affected countries would probably be India and Australia, along with Bangladesh

When Abdullah Hel Baki was participating in the last edition of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia last year, where he bagged a silver medal, the country’s top rifle shooter heard the news that shooting might be excluded from the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

The news not only shocked Baki or other Bangladeshi shooters but also the whole shooting arena, especially the 53 Commonwealth countries, and if the decision is not reversed the most affected countries would probably be India and Australia, along with Bangladesh.

India and Australia notched seven and nine golds respectively in Gold Coast but they had other disciplines where they also won gold, but for Bangladesh, it has been only shooting out of many disciplines where they managed to win some medals (two golds, four silvers and two bronzes) at the CWG since 1990.

Shooting has been ever present at CWG since 1974 but in June this year, Birmingham 2022 organizing committee announced that only beach volleyball, para-table tennis and women's cricket would be included, and declined requests of shooting, archery and men’s cricket.

India’s Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju approached the British government early this month to intervene over the removal of shooting from the 2022 Games, and threatened to boycott the event if the decision remained unchanged. 

The Shooters Union Australia also supported India’s move.

But it was Bangladesh government after India who officially took top-level initiative to include shooting when Youth and Sports State Minister Mohammad Jahid Ahsan Russel sent a letter Sunday to UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth, the United Nations, and South Asia, Tariq Ahmad, seeking his “personal intervention”.

Informing that logistical, security and safety issues are the reasons behind the exclusion of shooting, Bangladesh Shooting Sport Federation general secretary Enthekhabul Hamid said along with the BSSF, the National Rifle Associations of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have tried all avenues, from seeking the support of the Prime Minister, assuring financial assistance from the International Shooting Federation, to seeking intervention of the head of the Commonwealth, the Prince of Wales.

“Not only would Bangladesh lose 100% of its medals if shooting is excluded, the South Asian countries’ medal haul would also be affected big time,” said Hamid at a press conference at Gulshan Shooting Club Wednesday.

Baki, who won silver in the 10m air rifle event in 2014 and 2018, said, “Commonwealth Games is a very good platform for Bangladesh shooters where we regularly win medals. It’s a very sad decision and I hope it will be reversed.”

Bangladesh Olympic Association secretary general Syed Shahed Reza told Dhaka Tribune over the phone, “I already protested during the Commonwealth Games General Assembly in Rwanda last week and said shooting, archery and men’s cricket should be included in the Games. If not archery and cricket, I think shooting still has a chance to be included.”

A high-level meeting between the members of the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Indian Olympic Association is expected to take place sometime in October, after which, the final decision may come.