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15 athletes, hockey teams included in TOPS by SAI

15 athletes, hockey teams included in TOPS by SAI

New Delhi, December 5 (IANS): The Sports Authority of Indias (SAI) Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) has included the mens and womens hockey teams that have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). Fifteen athletes in five sports, namely Shooting, Archery, Para-Athletics, Para-Archery and Para-Badminton have also been included in TOPS.

At the MOC meeting held on Thursday, the following athletes were selected: Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Mairaj Ahmed Khan, Tejaswini Sawant, Chinki Yadav in Shooting, Deepika Kumari, Ankita Bhakat, Bombayla Devi in Archery, Vivek Chikara, Harvinder Singh, Rakesh Kumar and Shyam Sundar in Para-Archery, Nishad Kumar, Ajeet Singh, Yogesh Kathuniya, T Mariyappan in Para-Athletics and Nagar Krishna in Para-Badminton.

In addition to the above players, who were included in the core group, the committee has also included Indian men's javelin throw athletes Shivpal Singh and Rohit Yadav in the developmental group. The criteria for selection of the athletes were Global performance trends from the most recent Olympic Games, Paralympics, World Championships, Asian Games and Asian Championships, Performance of competing international counterparts (athletes) in the last three years, High performance age of a typical Olympic medallist specific to each event and Performance of Indian athletes in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and their progression chart.

The committee also decided to exclude shooters Ravi Kumar and Om Prakash Mitharwal from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme due to their dipping performance graph.

Boxer Neeraj Phogat has also been excluded from the TOPS scheme due to her provisional suspension by NADA.

Besides the inclusion of athletes, financial proposals of more than Rs 40 lakhs were approved for athletes in shooting, table tennis, wrestling and para-athletics.

The Badminton Association of India presented its long-term plan for the 2020, 2024 and 2028 Olympics. The points discussed, in the presence of national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, included performance expectation from the 2020 Olympics, developing a bigger base of players and more support for those who are not amongst the top-ranked players, developing more domestic training centres which will be the base for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics, improving the domestic competition structure which will help in finding more players for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.

The Target Olympic Podium Scheme is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to provide assistance to India's top athletes.

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