'CWG more relevant than ever, India has vital role to play'
The Commonwealth Games Federation has asserted the continuing relevance of the CWG in the wake of Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra's "low standard" remark and said the country has a vital role to play.
CGF Chief Executive David Grevemberg said that India's concerns over the dropping of shooting from the 2022 CWG in Birmingham will be addressed when they visit the country in mid-November.
Grevemberg will be accompanied by CGF president Louise Martin on the India tour.
Responding to comments made by Batra, Grevemberg said: "Our visit to India in November is hugely important. Our focus is on providing great opportunities to Indian athletes. Our approach will be to respect, listen, learn and contribute. We look forward to meeting our colleagues and friends in India.
"We passionately believe that the modern Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Sport Movement is more relevant than ever before and that India has a vital role to play.
"Our shared vision must learn from but go beyond the shared colonial history of the Commonwealth and, through sport, create peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities across our 71 diverse nations and territories."
Batra had said, on Tuesday, that the level of competition at the CWG is not particularly high and that India should consider a permanent pullout as it's a waste of time taking part in these Games.
The IOA chief had earlier called for an Indian boycott of the 2022 CWG in Birmingham over the axing of shooting from the Games programme due to logistical issues.
Grevemberg reiterated the CGF's desire for India to take part in the 2022 Birmingham Games.
"The (Birmingham) Games will have the largest-ever female and Para-sport programme in history and we want India to be part of this. It will be an amazing experience for all Indian athletes. With the significant Indian community across Birmingham and the West Midlands, there will be huge support for the country."
India had also raised the issue of not having any representation in the top decision making bodies of the CGF, which the officials said, would not help them in their desire to make shooting a core sport in the roster.
The CGF CEO indicated that the issue could be discussed during their visit, which is likely to happen on November 14.
"We hope we can take this opportunity to ensure India does have a leadership role in the Commonwealth. This is a chance to understand and support India's ambitions in Commonwealth Sport and we are going to India in order to work in collaboration with our friends and partners," said Grevemberg.
"We want to use sport, the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Sport to take big steps to address issues like the legacy of slavery, religious sectarianism, gender equality and the rights of indigenous people and other marginalised groups. We hope India will play a big role in supporting and contributing to this.
"The CGF has undergone a tremendous transformation and our strategic plan reflects that. It was refreshed in consultation with all our members, including India. We know the next Commonwealth Games at Birmingham 2022 has all the ingredients to be a great success."