Should India boycott CWG 2022? Here's what our athletes say

The IOA is threatening a boycott of the 2022 Commonwealth Games over the exclusion of shooting as an event Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) 2022 Commonwealth Games boycott call doesn't exactly have most athletes jumping for joy. The national federation's decision, pending a Government nod, was in response to shooting being dropped by hosts Birmingham from the next Games program.

Shooting has been a top medal minefield for the country, making up 134 of the total count of 504 medals India has won at the Games and its exclusion has left the sport feeling slighted.

ESPN spoke to athletes across a cross-section of other sports over which side of the boycott call they're on:


G Sathiyan
Table tennis

Just the fact that we're considering a boycott is disturbing.

We feel for the shooters and we're more than willing to extend any support that is required of us but boycott is just not an option. It will help no one and serve no end. It is medals at Games like these which then translate into support for athletes. Even if it was table tennis which was dropped from the program, I wouldn't have wished for athletes from others sports also to not compete at the Games.

We're still an emerging sporting nation and we need these competitions. What is the message we're looking to send out with a boycott? We cannot punish a whole bunch of athletes for one sport. It's absolutely unfair.


PR Sreejesh
Hockey

It might appear like an extreme step but it's a necessary one.

I wholly back the IOA's stance on the matter. We have to make our voice heard. If it has to be done through a boycott, so be it. Shooting is where we get a huge chunk of our Commonwealth Games medals, so when it's struck off the program it paralyses our overall performance.

India is a key member of the Commonwealth in terms of both participation and viewership so if we decide to stick our stand it might force the Games federation to come around.


Saurav Ghosal
Squash

For a non-Olympic sport like ours, the Commonwealth Games is among the biggest events on the four-year calendar. Personally, 2022 could be my last appearance at the Games and obviously to have that taken away will be difficult. All athletes deserve the highest levels of competition that they can be at it. It's what we train for every single day.

We're in full support of our shooters and if a boycott guarantees reinstatement of the sport, by all means do so. It might be more useful, though, for bodies and authorities in question arrive at a resolution of some sort. It's what we should work toward right now.


HS Prannoy
Badminton

Boycott? Why would we do that?

Apart from shooting there are other sports too in the Games program, what about those athletes? I don't support the idea at all.


Dutee Chand
Athletics

Ek sport ke liye paanch sports kyun khatm kare? (Why should we kill five sports over the exclusion of one?)

Athletes across sport live away from their homes and families in camps or by themselves, working towards the dream of a medal. Why snatch it away from them? Of course at the end of the day as athletes we can only do what the government decides for us.

As told to Susan Ninan