The Olympic-bound duo race walker KT Irfan, javelin thrower Shivpal Singh along with sprinter Dutee Chand have been included in Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) core group, the Sports Ministry said on Sunday.
Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and top sprinter Hima Das were retained in the TOPS core group after a performance review. Seven track and field athletes were included in the developmental program after a meeting of the Mission Olympic Cell, on November 26.
“The decision to include athletes in the TOPS core group was based on their performance progression and their qualification or high probability of qualification for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled next year,” the Sports Ministry said in a press release.
Besides Singh, Irfan and Chand, the other athletes who were included in the TOPS core group were Annu Rani (women’s javelin throw), Arokia Rajiv (men’s 400m and 4x400m relay), Noah Nirmal Tom (men’s 400m and 4x400m relay), Alex Anthony (men’s 400m and 4x400m relay), MR Poovamma (women’s 400m and 4x400m relay).
Triple jumper Arpinder Singh dropped after performance review
India has earned a quote in the Olympics in 4x400m mixed relay at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
Along with Chopra and Das, shot putter Tejinder Pal Singh Toor was also retained in the TOPS core group. However, triple jumper Arpinder Singh was dropped from the scheme after a performance review.
High jump mens national record holder, Tejaswin Shankar was included in the TOPS developmental program. Others who were included are Harsh Kumar (men’s 400m and 4x400m relay), Veeramani Revathi (women’s 400m and 4x400m relay), Vithya R (women’s 400m and 4x400m relay), Shaili Singh (women’s long jump), Sandra Babu (women’s triple jump) and Harshita Sehrawat (women’s hammer throw).
Chopra and Shivpal qualified for the Tokyo Olympics early this year in South Africa. 20km race walker Irfan booked his Olympic berth last year at the Asian Race Walking Championships in Japan.