Manavjit Singh Sandhu included in TOP Scheme, Ajay Jayaram dropped
Veteran trap shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu is among five new athletes who were included in the union sports ministry’s Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme on Friday. The decision was taken by the Mission Olympic Cell (MOC), which dropped four athletes (three shooters and a badminton player).
Sandhu failed to qualify for the final at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, but is part of the August 18-September 2 Asian Games squad. The former World Championship gold medallist has been included in TOPS till the World Championships later this year.
Trap shooters Lakshay Sheoran and Seema Tomar have also been included.
The committee has also sanctioned approximately Rs 41.8 lakh to skeet shooters Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Sheeraz Sheikh for training in Italy under coach Ennio Falco. However, two shooters - Kynan Chenai and Rajeswari Kumari - have been excluded from TOPS due to poor performance and for not being in the squad for the Asian Games and World Championships. Zorawar Singh has also been dropped for inconsistent performances.
No place for Dipa
The MOC sanctioned Rs 23.3 lakh for gymnasts Ashish Kumar, Aruna Budda Reddy and Pranati Nayak to meet expenses for a training camp in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Dipa Karmakar did not find a place in the training camp. A knee injury has kept the 24-year-old out of competition since a fourth-place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Her recovery has been slow since she underwent an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) surgery in April 2017.
Badminton players Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, 17, and Chirag Shetty, 20, have been included in the scheme till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In the CWG, they won silver in men’s doubles and were part of the Indian team that won gold in the mixed team event.
The MOC also approved the hiring of a physiotherapist by ace shuttler Saina Nehwal for a fortnight during preparation for the Malaysian and Indonesian Open tournaments in June.
However, singles player Ajay Jayaram has been dropped. A TOPS statement said his performances have been on the decline and he is no longer ranked among India’s top 10 players.