Manu Bhaker among 16 shooters named for TOPS support

The TOPS offers a monthly financial support of Rs 50,000 to enlisted athletes.

India shooter Manu Bhaker was on Thursday included in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) keeping in mind the 2020 Olympics.   -  Getty Images

A list of 29 athletes received the nod for government support through the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), after the Mission Olympic Cell of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) met on Thursday.

The list includes 16 shooters, with seven in rifle, six in pistol and three in shotgun. However, two of the leading shooters with considerable achievement to back their claims over the years, Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai, were kept in the pending list, as the committee wanted to gauge their performance at the World Cup to be hosted in Delhi in February 2019, which would offer Olympic quota places.

Only two shooters, Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela, have so far been able to win Olympic quota places in shooting for the country.

Apart from the 16, Hriday Hazarika, Divyansh Panwar, Shreya Agrawal, Aishwarya Pratap Tomar, Esha Singh and Manisha Keer, have been taken in the developmental group for the 2024 Olympics.

READ: Swapna hopeful of getting TOPS funding again

In tennis, only Asian Games doubles gold medallists Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan have been included in the scheme. Sania Mirza who recently delivered a baby, would be considered by the committee for inclusion in the scheme at a later date, for mixed doubles, once she resumes training.

In table tennis, Sharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan and Manika Batra were included in the scheme. The committee made it a point to clarify that Manika had been included on the basis of her performance in mixed doubles with Sharath Kamal. Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath were selected in the developmental squad for 2024.

The committee stressed that the selection had been based on detailed study of various factors for the last few years. Meanwhile, Rs 8.75 lakh was sanctioned for wrestler Bajrang Punia for a 25-day training stint in Georgia in preparation for the Asian Championship.

The selected athletes

Shooting: Ravi Kumar, Deepak Kumar, Apurvi Chandela, Elavenil Valarivan, Mehuli Ghosh, Anjum Moudgil, Sanjeev Rajput, Abhishek Verma, Saurabh Chaudhary, Om Prakash Mitharval, Manu Bhaker, Anish Bhanwala, Rahi Sarnobat, Kynan Chenai, Lakshay Sheoran, Angad Vir
Singh Bajwa.

Tennis: Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan.

Table tennis: Sharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan, Manika Batra.