New Delhi [India], February 23 (ANI): Six para-sport athletes were added to the core group of athletes for support under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports at a Mission Olympic Cell meeting attended by members including ex-players Bhaichung Bhutia, Anju Bobby George, Trupti Murgunde, besides representatives of various federations and IOA President Narinder Batra.
The meeting was chaired by SAI Director General Sandip Pradhan. The athletes inducted into the scheme include Ekta Bhayan, Neeraj Yadav, Nimisha C Suresh, Radha Venkatesh (Para-Athletics), Prachi Yadav (Para Canoe), and Paramjeet Kumar (Para Powerlifting).
The MOC also approved a request from two-time Olympic Games medalist PV Sindhu to support the cost of her fitness trainer Srikanth's travel and stay during the German Open, All-England Championships, Swiss Open, and Korean Open in March and April.
Sindhu's own travel and stay costs will be borne under the Ministry's Annual Calendar for Training and Competition (ACTC) budget for the Badminton Association of India. Her trainer's expenses for travel to these four tournaments have been sanctioned from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
Similarly, World No. 25 and 2012 Olympic Games bronze medalist Saina Nehwal's request for financial assistance for her physiotherapist Ayesha towards her travel and stay during the German Open, All-England Championships and Swiss Open was also approved. SAI already extends financial assistance towards Ayesha's monthly remuneration.
The MOC also approved proposals worth more than Rs 43.5 lakh from badminton players, Ashmita Chaliha, Aditi Bhat, and doubles players MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, Vishnuvardhan Goud and Krishna Prasad, Pullela Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly as well as Shikha Gautam and Ashwini Bhatt to enable them to compete in international events.
Besides, proposals from Manika Batra, Archana Kamat, Payas Jain, Yashaswini Ghorphade, Suhana Saini, Diya Chitale worth more than Rs 8.5 lakh have been approved along with their airfares. This assistance has been extended towards international competitions. (ANI)