Golfers Anirban, Aditi, Diksha; equestrian Fouaad, alpine skiier Arif included in TOPS


The country’s ace golfers Anirban Lahiri, Aditi Ashok and Diksha Dagar, Olympian equestrian Fouaad Mirza and alpine skiier Mohammed Arif Khan were among 10 athletes who have been recently included in the Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).

While Lahiri, Aditi, Diksha, Mirza and Khan were included in the core group, golfers Shubhankar Sharma and Tvesa Malik and judokas Yash Ghangas, Unnati Sharma and Linthoi Chanambam have been placed in the development group.

According to a statement issued by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), after these additions the total number of athletes under TOPS rose 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,” the statement read.

Khan, hailing from Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir, recently became the first alpine skiier from the country to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games to be held in Beijing next month.

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SAI’s Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) has approved Rs 17.46 lakh towards his cost of five-week training in Europe and purchase of equipment.

Equestrian 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.

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Based in Germany, he is currently ranked 87th in the world. Astride his horse Mokatoo, the 29-year-old logged in two top-10 finishes in Sopot in September and Pratoni del Vivaro in November last year.

Golfer Aditi, 23, hailing from Bengaluru, caught the nation’s attention during the Tokyo Games after being in medal reckoning throughout the competition.

While, the 21-year-old Diksha, who hails from Jhajjar in Haryana and is a silver medallist in the 2017 Summer Deaflympics, finished 50th in the Olympic Games last year.

Teenaged judokas Ghangas (+100kg class), Chanambam (57kg) and Unnati (63kg) won a silver medal each in the Asia-Oceania Junior Championships in Lebanon, Beirut, last month.

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