Six-time boxing world champion Mary Kom, upcoming shooter Yashaswini Singh Deswal and shuttler Sai Praneeth were among 12 top sportspersons who were included in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme on Wednesday.
Mary Kom was among ten boxers who were brought into the TOPS scheme for 2020 Olympics by the Sports Authority of India’s Mission Olympic Cell.
Amit Panghal (men’s 52 kg), Sonia Chahal (women’s 57 kg), Neeraj (women’s 57 kg), Nikhat Zareen (women’s 51 kg), Kavinder Singh Bisht (men’s 57 kg), Lovlina Borgohain (women’s 69 kg), Vikas Krishan (men’s 75 kg), Shiva Thapa (men’s 63 kg) and Manish Kaushik (men’s 63 kg) were the other nine boxers added to the TOPS list.
The committee also included 22-year-old Deswal, who won a gold medal in the women’s 10m air pistol event in the ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month. Her gold earned India an Olympic quota as well. She had also won a silver in the mixed team event.
Badminton star Sai Praneeth had won a bronze in the World Championships last month to become the first Indian men’s singles player in 36 years to win a medal. Praneeth has risen to world No 15 and is currently India’s second-ranked men’s singles player. A country is eligible to send two shuttlers per singles event in the Olympics.
The athletes were chosen on the basis of these parameters: global performance trends from most recent Olympic Games, World Championships, Asian Games and Asian Championships, performance of competing international counterparts in the last three years, high performance age of a typical Olympic medallist specific to each event, performance of Indian athletes in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and their progression chart, feedback from NSF, high performance managers, project officers and coaches.
Besides the selection of athletes, financial proposals worth Rs 1.4 crore were also cleared in 11 sporting disciplines – weightlifting, wrestling, shooting, archery, table tennis, athletics, badminton, tennis, para-badminton, para-archery and para-shooting, a release from the Sports Authority of India said.
The MOC committee also decided on the salient features of the long-term developmental plan for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.
A press release from SAI stated: “Scientific testing for 21 athletes selected under the developmental group is going to take place in two batches on 15th September and 30th September. Discussions were held about the high-level committee for the Tokyo Olympics that is already in place and is headed by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
“The committee will look into arrangements for the Olympics, addressing issues such as facilities for support staff, creation of India House, pre-games training venues and other logistical arrangements.”