CGF compelled to explain shooting's absence from 2022 games
The Commonwealth Games Federation has taken the unusual step of writing an open letter to a magazine, the Shooting Times, a popular UK shooting and firearms weekly, to explain the absence of the sport of shooting from the programme of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The central England city was finally awarded the games last month, after the original host, Durban in South Africa, failed to provide the required financial guarantees. However, the organising committee has decided against including shooting - an optional sport for host cities - on the programme, citing a lack of suitable venues in the vicinity. The UK's best-known shooting venue, Bisley Shooting Ground in Surrey, is located some 130 miles south of Birmingham.
It means that for the first time since 1970, shooting will not feature at the games.
Shooting Times has called on its readers to sign a petition asking "the powers that be at the Commonwealth Games to reconsider their decision."
It has questioned how Bisley Shooting Ground, which hosted the shooting at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, can be "dismissed as too far away, despite plans for track cycling to be held in London."
In an open letter, CGF president David Grevemberg explained: "The Commonwealth Games sports programme consists of compulsory and optional sports and disciplines, and despite appearing in many past Games, shooting is one of the optional sports that Host Nations can consider when proposing a bid to host the Games.
"The status of Shooting as an optional sport was a decision made at the 2015 Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly, and also reaffirmed in 2016 when the new CGF Constitution was approved. Importantly, these are not decisions taken solely by the Federation, but hugely important decisions voted on by our members in line with our Constitution. It was a decision made by the entire Commonwealth of Nations.
"Shooting is a thrilling sport with a proud and longstanding heritage at the Commonwealth Games. We understand that there will be disappointment when an optional sport is not chosen, and especially so when a particular country has enjoyed medal success in this sport historically.
"Nevertheless, we believe it is fundamentally important for the Games Partners; namely Commonwealth Games England, UK Government, Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority - and indeed for any other host city - to propose a sports programme that complies with our agreed rules but also works best for them."
He added: "We do understand that this is disappointing to the shooting community and fans. We continue to build on our strategic partnerships with all sports across the Commonwealth Sports Movement – and the CGF President will shortly meet the ISSF [shooting's international governing body] to discuss their future plans and ambitions to continue the development of shooting disciplines throughout the Commonwealth."
Compulsory sports that must be included on a Commonwealth Games sports programme are: aquatics (swimming and para swimming), athletics and para athletics, badminton, cycling (road), boxing, field hockey, gymnastics (artistic), judo, lawn bowls and para lawn bowls, netball, rugby sevens, squash, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting, powerlifting and wrestling (freestyle).
The organising committee can additionally select from a list of optional sports: archery, aquatics (diving), basketball 3x3 and basketball wheelchair para 3x3, cricket, cycling (mountain bike, track and track para), gymnastics (rhythmic), shooting (clay target, full bore, pistol and small bore), para table tennis, para triathlon and volleyball (beach).
Birmingham 2022 has already announced it will include track cycling, basketball 3x3 and basketball wheelchair para 3x3 on its programme, while there is still hope that women's cricket could feature at the city's Edgbaston ground.