Ace rider Fouaad Mirza, golfers Anirban Lahiri, Aditi Ashok, Diksha Dagar and Alpine Skiier Mohammed Arif Khan are among the 10 athletes added by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports’ Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) to the list of athletes who would be provided support under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
While these five athletes have been included in the Core group, golfers Shubhankar Sharma and Tvesa Malik and Judokas Yash Ghangas, Unnati Sharma and Linthoi Chanambam have been added to the Development group. These additions take the number of athletes under TOPS to 301, including 107 in the Core group.
The Ministry primarily supports elite athletes under the Annual Calendar for Training and Competition (ACTC) of each National Sports Federation. TOPS provides customised support to athletes in areas not covered under the ACTC and addresses unanticipated needs of the athletes as they prepare to excel in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Mohammed Arif Khan, hailing from Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir, recently became the first Indian Alpine Skiier to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games 2022 to be held in Beijing next month. The MOC approved Rs 17.46 lakh towards cost of five-week training in Europe and purchase of equipment.
Riding Seigneur Medicott, Fouaad Mirza won the Eventing individual silver medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and finished 23rd in the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year. Based in Germany, he is currently ranked 87 in the world. Astride Mokatoo, the 29-year-old logged in two top-10 finishes in Sopot in September and Pratoni del Vivaro in November.
The 23-year-old Aditi Ashok, hailing from Bengaluru, wrested the nation’s attention in Tokyo2020 after being in medal reckoning throughout the competition. The 21-year-old left-hander Diksha Dagar, who is from Jhajjar in Haryana and is a silver medalist in the 2017 Summer Deaflympics, finished 50th in the Olympic Games last year.
Teenaged Judokas Yash Ghangas (+100kg class), Linthoi Chanambam (57kg) and Unnati Sharma (63kg) won a silver medal each in the Asia-Oceania Junior Championships in Lebanon, Beirut, last month. Yash Ghangas rose from Panipat in Haryana to express himself on the mat while Lintho Chanambam hails from Manipur and Unnati is from Uttarakhand.