Target Olympic Podium Scheme committee to be reconstituted

New Delhi: Following the resignations of several eminent sports persons and administrators, the sports ministry on Friday decided to reconstitute the much talked about Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOP) identification committee.

TOPS was reviewed by the ministry after its chairman Anurag Thakur, who is also the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, resigned from his post last week.

"In view of his pre-occupation with BCCI, Shri Anurag Thakur has informed that it will not be possible for him to devote time to TOPS," said a ministry statement.

"This has been done on the basis of inputs received from federations, sports persons and coaches. The scheme will cover 12 disciplines -- archery, athletics, badminton, boxing, shooting, wrestling, sailing, gymnastics, swimming, lawn tennis, para athletics and para swimming."

The ministry is now planning to reconstitute the committee with "senior sports persons of repute".

Currently 84 athletes are under TOPS and six more athletes have conveyed their willingness to join the scheme.

"Rs.6.22 crore has been sanctioned under the scheme and further approximately similar amount has been allocated," said the statement.

Some of the most prominent athletes who have received assistance under TOPS are Sushil Kumar (wrestling), Saina Nehwal (badminton), Abhinav Bindra (shooting), Vikas Gowda (athletics), Inderjit Singh (athletics), Deepika Kumari (archery), Mary Kom (boxing), Sarita Devi (boxing), Heena Siddhu (shooting), Manavjit Sandhu (shooting), Yogeshwar Dutt (wrestling) , H.N. Girisha (para sports), Sharad Kumar (para sports) and Deepa Malik (para sports).

The scheme aims to provide world class training facilities and preparation for potential medal winners for the 2016 Rio Olympics 2016.

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