Increased sports stars presence in Mission Olympic Cell

The initiative, at the behest of Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, aims at steering India’s preparation for the 2024 Olympics.

The newly-formed MOC will now include former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia among other sports personalities.   -  FILE PHOTO/SUDHAKARA JAIN

In a first of its kind, the Union Sports Ministry has increased the presence of former international athletes in the Mission Olympics Cell (MOC) to accelerate India’s progress following the encouraging showing at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The initiative, at the behest of Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, aims at steering India’s preparation for the 2024 Olympics. Thakur was keen that the momentum gained at Tokyo was not lost.

“The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has doubled the number of former athletes as core members of the revamped Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) to make it even more athlete-centric than it has been so far. MOC drives India's Olympics Preparation through Target Olympics Podium (TOPS) initiative of the Ministry. This has been done to accelerate India’s progress on the global sports stage,” the Ministry announced.

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Thakur said the decision was a result of the gains in the last Olympic cycle. “The inputs by former athletes in the incumbent MOC played a significant role in supporting the training and competition of the athletes who competed in Tokyo 2020 and won 7 medals and 19 in Para Olympic Games,” he said.

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The newly-formed MOC will now include former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, long jump ace Anju Bobby George, former hockey captain Sardara Singh, rifle shooter Anjali Bhagwat, former hockey player and Olympic Gold Quest CEO Viren Rasquinha, table tennis player Monalisa Mehta and Trupti Murgunde from badminton. Olympian sailor and sports science specialist Dr. Malav Shroff will continue to be in the MOC.

The Athletics Federation of India presidenti Adile Sumeriwala, TOPS CEO Cmde Pushpendra Garg are other former players in the MOC. Cabinet Minister Arjun Munda (Archery Association of India president), Ajay Singh (Boxing Federation of India president) and Brij Bhushan (Wrestling Federation of India) have also been added to represent the federations.

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