New Delhi, Sep 26 (PTI): Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas today made it clear that merit is the sole criteria for including individual athletes in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) and there were strong reasons behind javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang's exclusion from the list.
Davinder, who became the first Indian javelin thrower to make the final of the World Championships in London last month, expressed his disappointment over his exclusion from the TOPS list and had even considered moving to Italy.
But Injeti, who is also the Director General of Sports Authority of India (SAI), refused to pay attention to Davinder's agitations.
"The decision of individual athlete's inclusion in TOPS is decided purely on merit," he told PTI on the sidelines of 'National Workshop on Sports for All' here.
"There is bound to be a strong and concrete reason behind his exclusion despite qualifying for the final of the World Championships," Injeti said without divulging anything further.
He, however, said that the Sports Ministry is open to reconsider his case.
"It was a joint decision by the national federation (Athletics Federation of India) and the ministry. But we are open and might include him in future," Injeti said.
Davinder, who bagged a bronze medal at the Asian Athletics Championship, is set to meet Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in the first week of October to push for his inclusion in the TOPS list.
However, when asked about it, the Minister said he was unaware of any such appointment till now.
Meanwhile, the Sports Secretary said the entire country is all ready and geared up to host its first-ever FIFA event -- the Under-17 World Cup, starting from October 6.
As per schedule, all the stadia were to be handed over to the organisers two weeks before the start of the tournament and Injeti said they have already given charge of all the venues to the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
"All venues have been handed over and the LOC is happy with the facilities. A complete lockdown of the stadiums will happen once the teams start training there," said Injeti.Published 26 Sep 2017, 12:11 IST