On Wednesday, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said in a released that while six athletes from the track and field, shooting and weightlifting disciplines were today inducted into the Target Olympic Podium Scheme, 12 athletes were dropped due to 'poor performance and fitness issues'.
Among them were Commonwealth Games gold medallists Sathish Kumar Sivalingam, Ragala Venkat Rahul and Punam Yadav and 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang.
In Gold Coast, earlier in April, Sathish bagged the gold medal in Men's 77kg with a lift of 313kg. It wasn't anywhere near his best but it was enough to guarantee a second CWG gold medal. Rahul bettered his silver-winning performance at Glasgow as he bagged the gold in Men's 85kg with a lift of 338kg.
"Is this officially announced?," asked Sathish when Sportskeeda got in touch with him. "I don't know what's going on there. They have dropped three gold medallists based on their performances...yes, my performance was not up to the mark but both Rahul and Punam did very well."
Rahul seemed equally surprised when he was informed of the development. "Really?," he asked, "I do not know anything about this. I do not know why I was dropped. Of course, it will be difficult for me, but I'll have to manage."
An official of the Weightlifting Federation of India (WFI) informed that while Punam was left out because of indiscipline, Sathish and Rahul were dropped as they were nursing injuries.
A week back, Punam was temporarily suspended by the WFI as she did not join the camp after returning from Gold Coast. Keeping the Asian Games in mind, all lifters were asked to report in the camp directly, but Punam joined 10 days later.
Sathish, on the other hand, is currently in rehab after injuring his back while Rahul is recovering from a knee injury. The official also added that both Sathish and Rahul will be back in the TOPS list once they are fully fit.
While the WFI officials are justified on their part, don't athletes, who are medal prospects at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, need support throughout? Especially, when they are recovering from injury? It is very surprising to see that the likes of Sathish and Rahul have been dropped from the TOPS list. Hopefully, they will recover quickly and start training for the Asian Games and the Tokyo Olympics in the days to come.