TOPS: Soumyajoti, Nirmala axed; TT star Manika Batra, 20 others get contract extensions
Table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh and women’s 400m runner Nirmala Sheoran were axed from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) while Achanta Sharath Kamal, Harmeet Desai, G Sathiyan, Manika Batra, Mouma Das and Madhurika Patkar, have received extension, post their brilliant performances at the Commonwealth Games (CWG 2018)Updated: May 16, 2018 22:57 IST
Table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh and women’s 400m runner Nirmala Sheoran were among 27 athletes dropped from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) as the sports ministry concluded its weekly review of the ambitious fuding project for India’s medal hopefuls.
Ghosh is under suspension by the Table Tennis Federation of India following allegations of rape and blackmail against him by an 18-year-old. Nirmala, a world championships semifinalist last year, has also been dropped on grounds of indiscipline.
“Women’s 400 metres runner Nirmala Sheoran has also been dropped as she has not reported to any training camp for nearly two years. Table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh has been excluded from the TOPS scheme as he is presently suspended by his federation,” a Sports Authority of India press release said on Wednesday.
Eight weightlifters and seven archers were dropped due to poor performance. “Four winter sports athletes have also been dropped, given that the Winter Olympics finished earlier this year,” the release said.
Veteran Shiva Kesavan, Anchal Thakur, who won India’s first international medal in skiing this year, her brother Himanshu Thakur, and Jagdish are the winter sports athletes left out.
Altogether 27 athletes were axed and four new names added while 21 received an extension post the Commonwealth Games.
TT SQUAD RETAINED
Six members of the TT contingent, including golden girl Manika Batra, which returned with whopping eight medals from Gold Coast were rewarded and their TOPS contracts were extended.
“Three men and three women players from India’s victorious table tennis team -- Achanta Sharath Kamal, Harmeet Desai, G Sathiyan, Manika Batra, Mouma Das and Madhurika Patkar, have received extension under TOPS, post their brilliant performances at the CWG,” the release said.
Others who saw their contracts extended upto Asian Games are gymnasts Ashish Kumar, Rakesh Patra, Aruna Reddy and Praniti Nayak. The top six 400m runners also got an extension, given that men’s longer relay team are a strong prospect for the Asian Games. Also, four women’s 400m runners in addition to Sonia Baishya and Hima Das have received an extension.
15-year-old double trap shooter Shardul Vihan, 400m hurdler A Dharun, long jumper Sree Shankar and relay runner Sonia Baishya, who competed in women’s 4x400 relay at the CWG, have been included. Para powerlifter Sakina Khatun, who won bronze in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, will continue to be part of the scheme.
Others who were dropped include Mohan Kumar and Sachin Roby (men’s 4X400 metres relay runners), Anu Raghavan and Debashree Mazumdar (women’s 4X400 metres relay runners), shooters Sangram Dahiya and Shapath Bharadwaj was also dropped.
The Committee also approved release of funds to cover the training and competition expenses of athletes in eight sports. A total of Rs 33.4 lakhs were sanctioned to purchase high-end cycling equipment and consumables for five cyclists.
Squash players Dipika Palikal and Saurav Ghosal were given “approximately Rs. 14.7 lakhs” alongside air fare and visa for their training till the Asian Games. Swimmer Sajan Prakash will receive grant of Rs 4.24 lakh while tennis player Ankita Raina, who was recently included in TOPS, will get “approximately Rs. 8.3 lakhs” as training and competition expenses till the end of July.