How does the absence of Shooting and Wrestling in Commonwealth Games affect India?
India stands second in the all-time medal tally of shooting and wrestling along with archery at the Commonwealth Games.
India is undoubtedly one of the most successful nations in the history of the Commonwealth Games. Indian athletes have so far clinched a total of 503 podium finishes, with a whopping 181 gold, 173 silver, and 149 bronze medals in the history of the Commonwealth Games.
Having made its debut at the quadrennial event way back in the year 1934, India stands fourth in the all-time medal tally behind Australia, England, and Canada.
While it is a well-established fact that a major chunk of India's medals at the CWG games have come from the sport of shooting and wrestling, how much does the absence of the sport in the Birmingham Games and beyond affect India?
Out of the total 503 medals for India in the Commonwealth Games, a total 135 have come in the sport of shooting. Now that's 26.83% of the total medals won by the country. Besides, the Indian shooters led have also won a 63 gold medals in shooting – that's a whopping 35% of the total yellow metals won by the country in the quadrennial event.
As far as wrestling is concerned, India has bagged a total of 102 medals across various weight divisions including 43 gold medals.
The South Asian nation also stands second in the all-time medal tally of shooting and wrestling along with archery – a sport which has only been played twice in the history of the Commonwealth Games in 1984 and 2010.
While despite some intense lobbying by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) shooting has failed to make the cut for the upcoming 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, both shooting and wrestling have been omitted from the 2026 Games in Victoria, Australia.
Archery, too, has not made it to the initial list of sports for the 2026 Games.
With three sports where India excels put on the back burner, it is evident that India's medal tally will take a hit at the Commonwealth Games.
Ace pistol shooter from the country, Manu Bhaker, feels that the hosts for both editions – UK and Australia, are deliberately targeting the sports that India is good at.
While the IOA also has termed the omissions as a "grave injustice to India," the question remains, "Is competing in the Commonwealth Games worth it for India?"