Jitu Rai and six other sportspersons were dropped from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), on the grounds of a recent below-par performances and non-selection in the Asian Games and World Championship squads. These decisions were taken at a meeting of the Mission Olympic Cell in New Delhi.
Jitu won a gold each in the men’s 50m pistol event in the 2014 Asian Games and also bagged the yellow metal in the men’s 10m air pistol in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April. But he is experiencing a lack of form of late and he was left out of the Indian shooting team for the upcoming Asian Games.
The other shooters that were dropped due to a recent lack of form were Yashaswini Deshwal, Amanpreet Singh and Neeraj Kumar. Deshwal, a junior World champion in the 10 metre Air Pistol, finished fourth in the World Cup at Guadalajara, Mexico earlier this year but was dropped from the Asian Games.
Neeraj Kumar managed identical 13th-placed finishes at the World Cups in Guadalajara and Changwon and a 65th-place in Munich. He finished fifth at the Commonwealth Games in the 25 metre Rapid Fire Pistol finals where teenage sensation Anish Bhanwala captured gold.
The release sent by the Sports Authority of India also stated that middle distance runner Lili Das, shot putter Om Prakash Karhana and 400 metres relay runner Mohan Kumar were also dropped from the scheme on grounds of recent below-par performance.
Das, who has represented India in 800 metres and 1500 metres, “was dropped from the TOPS scheme on grounds of recent below-par performance. The committee is open to taking her back into the scheme, as she is reasonably young and is seen as a promising talent going forward,” stated the release.