Melbourne, October 5 (agency)
While shooting will be back in the list for the 2026 Commonwealth Games (CWG) to be held in Victoria, Australia, the exclusion of wrestling will be disappointing for India. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and Commonwealth Games Australia on Wednesday announced the full sporting schedule for the Victoria 2026 CWG, comprising 20 sports and 26 events. Out of this, 9 are solely for Para sports. While the return of shooting to these sports is a welcome move for India, the withdrawal of wrestling is disappointing. Shooting was dropped from the list of previous games held in Birmingham. Shooting has been India’s strongest sport in the Commonwealth Games so far with 135 medals (63 Gold, 44 Silver and 28 Bronze). Wrestling ranks third in this list with 114 (49 Gold, 39 Silver and 26 Bronze) medals. India won 16 medals (seven gold, four silver and five bronze) in shooting in the 2018 Gold Coast season, accounting for about 25 per cent of the country’s total of 66 medals. The addition of para-shooting in CWG 2026 will add to India’s medal tally. But the absence of wrestling will hurt the team. India had won the maximum 12 medals (six gold, one silver, five bronze) in wrestling at the Birmingham Games. The game has featured in four consecutive games since 2010. Archery, on the other hand, has been a part of the Commonwealth Games only twice. It became a part of these Games in 1982 and 2010 and India ranks second in Archery in the all-time medal tally of these Games. The withdrawal of shooting from the list of these sports, however, was unexpected. Wrestling is not a very popular sport in Australia and the host country usually chooses sports where domestic athletes are expected to perform well. Shooting is a popular sport in Australia. Australia won the most medals (3 gold, 5 silver, 1 bronze) in the 2018 Commonwealth Games after India. However, there will be no ‘bore’ shooting events at the Victoria Commonwealth Games. There will be competitions related to pistol, rifle and shotgun. The decision, however, will not have much impact on the medal prospects of Indian shooters as they are not traditionally strong in ‘bore’ events.