Olympics bound race walker KT Irfan and javelin thrower Shivpal Singh along with sprinter Dutee Chand have been added to the core group of Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), the sports ministry announced on Sunday.
“The decision to include athletes in the TOPS core group was based on their performance progression and their qualification or high probability of qualification for Tokyo Olympics the scheduled next year,” said the sports ministry in their statement.
Besides the trio of Irfan, Shivpal and Chand, javelin thrower Annu Rani, 400m and 4x400m relay runners Arokia Rajiv, Noah Nirmal Tom, Alex Anthony and M. R. Poovamma were also included in the scheme.
On the other hand, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, sprinter Hima Das and shot putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor were retained in the scheme after performance review while triple jumper Arpinder Singh had his name missing from the list.
20 athletes have been included in the Core Group of Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in 6 disciplines, while 7 new athletes have been included in the Developmental Group. All these athletes will be supported towards Olympic preparation. @KirenRijiju congratulates them. pic.twitter.com/jbeeclW9LD
— Kiren Rijiju Office (@RijijuOffice) November 27, 2020
Moreover, seven athletes including high jumper Tejaswin Shankar were included in the TOPS developmental group. The others in this list are triple jumper Sandra Babu, hammer thrower Harshita Sherawat, long jumper Shaili Singh and 400m and 4x400m runners Harsh Kumar, Veeramani Revathi and Vithya R.
Out of the athletes included in the TOPS list, KT Irfan, Shivpal Singh, Neeraj Chopra along with the mixed 4x400m relay team have already booked their berth for the Tokyo Olympics.
Established in 2014, TOPS is a flagship program of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports with an objective to provide assistance to India’s top athletes in their bid to win Olympic medals.