Following the step towards grooming athletes for 2024 and 2028 Olympics, on Wednesday, Sports Authority of India increased its pool of TOPS development athletes from 85 in 8 sports to 258 in 12 sports.
This step was based on the announcement made by Union Ministers of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju during a review meeting held on Wednesday.
Rijiju said that it takes around 8 years to groom an athlete into an Olympic medal probable. And this is the reason why, athletes have been selected under ‘Mission Olympic Cell’ and will going to be a part of the TOPS Developmental Group.
TOPS development athletes pool increased from 85 in 8 sports to 258 in 12 sports
Rijiju in his statement said, “Establishing junior TOPS and extending support to the development group is a critical measure to realize India’s dream of being among the TOP 10 countries in the 2028 Olympics. It takes 8 years to groom an athlete into an Olympic medal probable and we have started right on the time for the 2028 Olympics.”
After setting an effective monitoring mechanism for an athlete’s progress, in the long run, the formal induction of the athletes in the development group would be undertaken.
Following this, it has been decided that for the next four years performance benchmark will be established for the individual athletes. This will be in consultation with all stakeholders, including the athlete, coach High-Performance Director/ Chief National Coach of NSFs.
Along with a monthly allowance of 25,000 to every athlete, the training support to the TOPS development Group will be extended in each discipline through a group/systems approach.
16 athletes have been shortlisted in 12 disciplines –
- 34 in Archery
- 27 in Badminton
- 4 in Cycling
- 7 in Table Tennis
- 70 in Shooting
- 14 in Swimming
- 11 in Judo
- 36 in Boxing
- 16 in Weightlifting
- 5 in Rowing
- 18 in Wrestling
Also, Training of athletes at the SAIs National Centre of Excellence will begin in a phased manner from October 1, 2020.
While finalization, the health and safety of athletes and coaches following the situation of COVID-19 in the state where the NCOE is located will be considered.
Rijiju further mentioned, “Funds will be provided to upgrade existing infrastructure structure and equipment or procure new ones, as per the need of athletes. We are ready to provide all support needed to ensure that athletes in India have the best facilities at par with the world.”
Even a series of sensitization workshops are held in SAI NCOEs on various subjects, especially those joining the camps in their teenage. It has been decided to increase these awareness workshops including on sexual harassment act with aim the make the athletes aware of such issues and about the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.