CHENNAI: A total of 192 Indian athletes will be supported by the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme till the conclusion of the Asian Games in Jakarta in September. The latest ‘list of athletes under TOP Scheme’ was revealed by the Sports Ministry of India (SAI) on Wednesday and there are a few surprises.
Only 41 of the 192 athletes will be receiving support under the Government of India scheme till the 2020 Olympics. The remaining 151 will be cut from funding for various reasons. 24 athletes from shooting (14) and badminton (10) will be supported till Tokyo.
The other 18 athletes come from the other six core disciplines where the country has an outside chance of medalling — boxing (6), archery (2), weightlifting (2), wrestling (4), gymnastics (1), athletics (2). But the overall composition of the list reveals some pointers about India’s medal prospects in Jakarta. Athletics, which has been the Indian medal cow at the last two Asiads, leads the way with a whopping 35 entries. The next best is shooting with 31 athletes.
The identity of the seven players in tennis — including the likes of Yuki Bhambri and Rohan Bopanna — suggests that a few might opt to skip the US Open to play at the quadrennial bash. One point which is to be noted is the dynamic nature of the list. So names will be added or dropped after taking into account current form, fitness and so on.
Sathish, Rahul to be back Both Sathish Sivalingam and RV Rahul’s names will be back in the TOP Scheme if national weightlifting coach Vijay Sharma is to be believed. “Since they are not in the camp, heir names do not figure in the TOP list. But their names will be back on the list after they join us. They are both in rehab and should join us around the first week of June. That’s the news I have heard from my Federation (Indian Weightlifting Federation),” he told Express.