K. T. Irfan, sprinter Dutee Chand included in TOPS core group

Javelin throwers Shivpal Singh and Neeraj Chopra, among others, were retained in the TOPS core group after a performance review.

Indian sprinter Dutee Chand. - BISWARANJAN ROUT

Olympics-bound race walker K. T. Irfan, javelin thrower Shivpal Singh and sprinter Dutee Chand have been included in the core group of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), the sports ministry said on Sunday.

Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who has also qualified for the Olympics, and sprinter Hima Das were retained in the TOPS core group after a performance review.

Seven track-and-field athletes were also included in the TOPS developmental group after a meeting of the Mission Olympics Cell on November 26.

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“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 ministry said in a communique.

Besides Shivpal Singh, Irfan and Chand, those 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), and M. R. Poovamma (women’s 400m and 4x400m relay).

India has earned an Olympic quota in the mixed 4x400m relay at the 2019 World Championships.

Arpinder dropped

Shot putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor was also retained in the TOPS core group, along with Chopra and Hima, after a performance review, while triple jumper Arpinder Singh was dropped from the scheme.

High jump national record holder Tejaswin Shankar was among the seven athletes included in TOPS developmental group.

The others 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 Tokyo Olympics early this year in competitions in South Africa while 20km race walker Irfan did it last year during the Asian Race Walking Championships in Japan.