The Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Mission Olympic Cell has included four archers — Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and Atul Verma — as part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) for 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Rai, Das and Jadhav were part of the Indian men’s recurve team that won a silver at the World Archery Championships held in the Netherlands in June, thus earning an Olympic quota. India also won three single athlete quotas in the men’s recurve individual event. Verma had won a bronze in boy’s recurve archery at the 2014 Youth Olympics.
In a meeting held on Wednesday and chaired by Neelam Kapur, Director General, SAI, the athletes were chosen after a detailed analysis on the following parameters:
– Global performance trends from most recent Olympic Games, Youth Olympic Games, World Cups and World Championships
– Performance of competing international counterparts (athletes) in the last three years
– High performance age of a typical Olympic medalist specific to each event
– Performance of Indian athletes in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and their progression chart
The following financial proposals amounting to Rs 34 lakh in six sporting disciplines were also cleared at the meeting:
1. Wrestling: Financial support for training and participation in tournaments overseas were cleared for Pooja Dhanda, Bajrang Punia, Utkarsh Kale and Vinesh Phogat. The committee also sanctioned the purchase of sports gear for Pooja Dhanda.
2. Para-athletics: The committee approved the proposal of Amit Saroha to hire a physiotherapist at SAI Sonepat, where he is currently training. The physiotherapist may be utilised for other para-athletes who are training at the centre.
3. Athletics: The committee approved the proposals of athletes Sreeshankar and Jinson Johnson to participate in overseas competitions. The committee also cleared Tajinder Toor’s proposal to hire a foreign coach, Ireneusz Bukowiecki, for a period of two months.
4. Table tennis: The committee has sanctioned the purchase of sports kit for Manika Batra. It has approved Sharath Kamal’s proposal to hire physiotherapist Hirak Bagchi for a period of 12 days.
5. Tennis: The committee has sanctioned the cost of urgent medical treatment incurred by Rohan Bopanna owing to a knee injury he suffered during a tournament in June.
6. Shooting: The committee cleared proposals towards the training, participation and equipment requirements of Lakshay Sheoran, Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Sanjeev Rajput.
The Target Olympic Podium Scheme is a flagship program of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports which is a scheme to provide assistance to India’s Olympic probables.