What's the story?
On Friday, newly-appointed Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore made a major announcement as he declared a Rs 50,000 per month allowance for 152 elite athletes who are preparing for the 2020 Olympics along with next year's Asian and Commonwealth Games. The move was hailed by athletes from across the sporting fraternity in the nation, with many calling it an important step.
Earlier, it had been reported in August that the number of athletes under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme had been reduced to 45, but Sportskeeda has understood that the number has been upped to 152 once again, with 107 athletes being added once again to the list.
They have been added keeping in mind the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia and Asian Games in Indonesia next year and include athletes from across disciplines. However, the Ministry also clarified that the list is subject to change and names can still be added and subtracted in due course.
In case you didn't know
TOPS or TOP Scheme is an initiative undertaken by the ministry two yeasrs ago, with the purpose of providing support to elite athletes in preparation for major events. The TOPS committee is headed by Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, and it selects and recommends athletes on the basis of their recent performances.
The heart of the matter
The 107 athletes have been added from across 13 disciplines for both short and long-term objectives. The breakdown of sports is as follows: Para Sports (19), Athletics (17), Archery (14), Weightlifting (10), Wushu (9), Wrestling (8), Tennis (7), Boxing (7), Cycling (5), Judo (4), Gymnastics (4), Shooting (2), Badminton (1).
Most inclusions have been made for the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, while only five athletes have been selected as long-term prospects i.e. they will be supported till the 2020 Olympics. The 19 athletes under Para Sports have been included for the Asian Para Games in October 2018.
However, some prominent names such as Davinder Singh Kang, who was India's only finalist at the IAAF World Championships, have still not made the cut and continue to remain outside contention.
Many changes can be expected in the coming weeks as the committee continues to assess athletes.
It is definitely a great step to see the government taking positive steps towards helping the athletes prepare for such prestigious events. One hopes it will help them perform better and win laurels for the nation.Published 16 Sep 2017, 18:55 IST