Six para-athletes included in the TOPS core group ahead of upcoming major competitions and the Paris Olympics
No less than six para-athletes were added to the core group of players on Wednesday under the Department of Sports’ Target Olympic Podium Program (TOPS), keeping in mind this year’s several major tournaments and the Games Paris Olympics in 2024.
Athletes inducted into the program include Ekta Bhayan, Neeraj Yadav, Nimisha C Suresh and Radha Venkatesh (para-athletics), Prachi Yadav (para-canoeing) and Paramjeet Kumar (para-powerlifting).
The decision was taken by the Ministry of Sports at a meeting of the Olympic Mission Cell (MOC) attended by members including former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, long jumper Anju Bobby George and commuter Trupti Murgunde, as well as representatives of various federations and the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Narinder Batra.
The meeting was chaired by ISC Director General Sandip Pradhan.
The MOC has also approved a request from two-time Olympic Games medalist PV Sindhu to cover the travel and living expenses of her fitness trainer Srikanth during the German Open, the English Championships, the Open de Suisse and the Korea Open in March and April.
Sindhu’s travel and accommodation expenses will be covered under the ministry’s Annual Training and Competition Calendar (ACTC) budget for the Badminton Association of India (BAI), a ministry statement said. .
His coach’s expenses to travel to these four tournaments were sanctioned by the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
Similarly, Olympic bronze medalist commuter Saina Nehwal’s request for financial assistance for her physiotherapist, Ayesha, for her travel and stay during the German Open, English Championships and Swiss Open has also been approved.
SAI already provides financial support for Ayesha’s monthly salary.
The MOC has also approved proposals worth more than Rs. 43.50 lakh from badminton players Ashmita Chaliha, Aditi Bhat 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 allow them to participate in international events.
Proposals from paddlers Manika Batra, Archana Kamat, Payas Jain, Yashaswini Ghorphade, Suhana Saini and Diya Chitale worth more than Rs 8.5 lakh were also approved along with their air fares. This assistance has been extended to international competitions.
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