Six para-athletes included in TOPS ahead of Paris Olympics; MOC approves funds for Sindhu and others
Ekta Bhyan, Paramjeet Kumar feature among 6 para-athletes selected for TOPS core group while Sindhu, Batra, and others got funds sanctioned for upcoming tournaments.
As many as six para-athletes were on Wednesday added to the core group of players under the Sports Ministry's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) keeping in mind the several major tournaments this year and the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The athletes inducted into the scheme include Ekta Bhyan, Neeraj Yadav, Nimisha C Suresh and Radha Venkatesh (para-athletics), Prachi Yadav (para canoe) and Paramjeet Kumar (para powerlifting).
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The decision was made by the Sports Ministry at a Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) meeting attended by members, including former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, long jumper Anju Bobby George and shuttler Trupti Murgunde, besides representatives of various federations and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra.The meeting was chaired by SAI Director General Sandip Pradhan.
The MOC also approved a request from two-time Olympic Games medallist PV Sindhu to support the cost of her fitness trainer Srikanth's travel and stay during the German Open, All-England Championships, Swiss Open and Korean Open in March and April.
Sindhu's own travel and accommodation costs will be borne under the ministry's Annual Calendar for Training and Competition (ACTC) budget for the Badminton Association of India (BAI), a ministry release stated. Her trainer's expenses for travel to these four tournaments have been sanctioned from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
Similarly, Olympic bronze medallist shuttler Saina Nehwal's request for financial assistance for her physiotherapist, Ayesha, towards her travel and stay during the German Open, All-England Championships and Swiss Open was also approved. SAI already extends financial assistance towards Ayesha's monthly remuneration.
The MOC also approved proposals worth more than Rs. 43.50 lakh from badminton players Ashmita Chaliha, Aditi Bhatt, and doubles players MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, Vishnuvardhan Goud and Krishna Prasad, Pullela Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly as well as Shikha Gautam and Ashwini Bhatt to enable them to compete in international events.
Proposals from paddlers Manika Batra, Archana Kamath, Payas Jain, Yashaswini Ghorphade, Suhana Saini and Diya Chitale worth over Rs 8.5 lakh has also been approved along with their airfares. This assistance has been extended towards international competitions.