The Ministry of Sports on Friday included eight para-athletes in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). Out of these eight players, four have qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics 2021. At the 50th meeting of the Mission Olympic Cell, the decision to include eight para-athletes from four different sports Para-Athletics, Para-Shooting, Para-Badminton and Para-Table Tennis was taken.
Para-Athletics: Men’s Discus Thrower in F52 event Vinod Kumar and Men’s High Jumper in T64 event Praveen Kumar have been included in the TOPS scheme. Both the athletes have qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Paralympics. Ajit Kumar Panchal who competes in the Men’s F52 Discus Throw event has also made it to the list.
Para-Badminton: The Women’s Doubles pair of Parul Parmar and Palak Kohli (SL3-SU5) have been added to the TOPS scheme. They currently hold the fifth spot at the world rankings in the race to qualification for the Tokyo Paralympics.
Para-Shooting: Rubina Francis, competing in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol SH1 event got included in the TOPS scheme. Apart from her, Men’s 50m Rifle Prone event shooter Siddharth Babu has also been named in the list. Babu has already attained a quota for the Tokyo Paralympics.
Para-Table Tennis: Eighth-seed Bhavina Patel who competes in the W-Class 4 event has been included in the TOPS scheme. She recently earned a quota for the Tokyo Paralympics 2021. With this, she also became the first Indian to represent the country in Para-Table Tennis at the Paralympics.
Three para-athletes including Virender Dhankar miss out
Three probable players who missed out on a spot in the TOPS scheme included Men’s Shot Put F57 event shooter Virender Dhankar and Women’s 400m F47 event athlete Jayanti Behera were excluded from the scheme.
Moreover, Deepender who competes in the Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1 event has also got left out from the scheme.