Sports ministry doubles number of former athletes in Olympics cell

MOC drives India’s Olympics Preparation through the Target Olympics Podium (TOPS) initiative of the Union ministry of youth affairs and sports.
MOC drives India’s Olympics Preparation through the Target Olympics Podium (TOPS) initiative of the Union ministry of youth affairs and sports. (Representational image)(REUTERS)
MOC drives India’s Olympics Preparation through the Target Olympics Podium (TOPS) initiative of the Union ministry of youth affairs and sports. (Representational image)(REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2021 09:15 PM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

India has added several former athletes as core members of the Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) to make it “even more athlete-centric than it has been so far” to ensure the country’s stronger presence in the Olympics edition to be held in Paris in 2024.

Union sports minister Anurag Thakur said the decision was driven by the experience gained in the last Olympic cycle. "The inputs by former athletes in the incumbent MOC played a significant role in supporting the training and competition of the athletes who competed in Tokyo 2020 and won 7 medals & 19 in Para Olympic Games," Thakur said.

MOC drives India’s Olympics Preparation through the Target Olympics Podium (TOPS) initiative of the Union ministry of youth affairs and sports.

Among the seven former athletes who were included in the cell on Thursday are football icon Bhaichung Bhutia and long jumper Anju Bobby George.

Former India hockey captain Sardara Singh, rifle shooting legend Anjali Bhagwat, former hockey captain and CEO Olympic Gold Quest Viren Rasquinha, table tennis star Monalisa Mehta and badminton ace Trupti Murgunde were the other athletes added to revamped MOC.

Meanwhile, Olympian sailor and sports science specialist Malav Shroff will continue to be in the MOC, which will be chaired by director general of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Sandip Pradhan. Other former players in the MOC include Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adile Sumeriwala and TOPS CEO Pushpendra Garg.

Union minister Arjun Munda, Ajay Singh and Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh as the president of the Archery Association of India, Boxing Federation of India and Wrestling Federation of India will be part of the cell.

MOC is a body set up by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to select athletes for financial assistance under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). It also focuses on the selection, exclusion and retention of athletes, coaches, training institutes that can receive TOPS assistance.

The Indian contingent returned with a record seven medals, including a historic athletics gold, from the Tokyo Olympics, which was followed by the para athletes' stellar show at the ensuing Paralympics in the Japanese capital.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022