Lobby group Shooters Union Australia have called for the country to join India in threatening to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games unless shooting is added to the programme ©SUA

Australia should join India in threatening to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games if shooting is not added to the programme in Birmingham, a group representing the country's gun industry has claimed.

Shooting, while not a compulsory Commonwealth Games sport, has been part of every event since Kingston 1966, with the exception of Edinburgh 1970, but has not been included as part of Birmingham 2022. 

The decision has angered India so much that the country is threatening to boycott Birmingham 2022 in protest if the country's most successful Commonwealth Games sport is not restored.

There are now calls for Australia to show solidarity with India.

The movement is being led by Shooters Union Australia (SUA), a lobby group claiming to represent thousands of firearm owners and enthusiasts across the country and which is affiliated to the National Rifle Association in the United States. 

Australia won nine medals in shooting at Gold Coast 2018, including three golds, the second-highest total after India. 

"Birmingham is the traditional home of the UK’s sporting guns industry, so saying there are no suitable venues for the Games’ shooting events is about as believable as saying there’s nowhere to go swimming on the Gold Coast," SUA President Graham Park said. 

"Australia should stand with India in demanding the shooting events be returned to the 2022 Commonwealth Games line-up, and be prepared to carry through with a boycott if they are not.

"Australia is well-known for our sporting achievements on the world stage and arbitrarily denying our top shooters a potential spot on the podium not only tells these hard-working athletes 'the Government doesn’t think your sport matters', it dramatically lowers our potential medal count and thus our national prestige."

Australia won nine Commonwealth Games medals, including three gold, at Gold Coast 2018
Australia won nine Commonwealth Games medals, including three gold, at Gold Coast 2018

Park added: "These are some of the very best shooters in the entire country competing at the highest levels of international competition.

"They train and practice and put in many years of hard work to get to that level, and having their moment in the spotlight pulled away because of what appears to be political correctness is inexcusable."

Former Commonwealth Games Australian shooting team manager Jan Linsley claimed that the excuse of Birmingham 2022 that there was no suitable venue close to the city to host the sport was not credible. 

"At the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998, shooting events were held on the island of Langkawi, which is a plane flight away from Kuala Lumpur - yet the Malaysians happily transported all the shooters and their gear by plane for the shooting events and then back again for the Closing Ceremony," she said.

"Belmont shooting range is 80 kilometres from the Gold Coast and no-one thought that was a problem for the 2018 Commonwealth Games."

Linsley claimed the decision not to include shooting on the Birmingham 2022 programme could have a negative impact on the sport's future in Australia. 

"Obviously if there is no shooting at the Birmingham Games, the funding for top-level shooting sports training in Australia will be reduced, which could also impact our ability to train and qualify shooting competitors for the Olympics," she said. 

The Commonwealth Games Federation are expected to officially confirm tomorrow that beach volleyball, women's cricket and Para table tennis will be added to the programme for Birmingham 2022 following a postal vote of Member Associations.

They have consistently claimed they will not reverse the decision on shooting, and blame the sport for refusing to accept a compromise proposal of including only the small bore rifle and pistol events.