Neeraj Phogat dropped from TOPS, Deepika Kumari included

Neeraj Phogat, who was suspended by NADA earlier this week for failing a dope test, was on Thursday dropped from the Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).

Phogat tested positive for performance-enhancing drug Ligandrol, which helps muscle building. “The committee has also taken the decision to exclude shooters Ravi Kumar and Om Prakash Mitharwal from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme due to their dipping performance graph,” the Sports Authority of India said in a statement.

Archer Deepika Kumari found a spot among the beneficiaries of the scheme after having played a crucial role in securing a Tokyo Olympics quota place. Two others archers — Ankita Bhakat and the veteran L. Bombayla Devi — were also included. Deepika and Ankita had combined to secure an individual Olympic quota place for India in women’s recurve event.

The men’s and women’s hockey teams have also been chosen after having qualified for the Olympics.

Also in the list were shooter Chinki Yadav, who secured an Olympic quota in the 25m pistol event earlier this year; veteran Tejaswini Sawant; Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar; and Mairaj Ahmad Khan.

Javelin throwers in developmental group

In addition to the these athletes, who were included in the core group, the committee has included Indian men’s javelin throwers Shivpal Singh and Rohit Yadav in the developmental group. The criteria for selection of the athletes were feedback from the National Sports Federations, National Observers, High Performance Managers, Project Officers and Coaches.

Besides the inclusion of athletes, financial proposals of more than ₹40 lakh were approved for athletes from shooting, table tennis, wrestling and para-athletics.

The Badminton Association of India also presented its long-term plan for the 2020, 2024 and 2028 Olympics.

The points discussed, in the presence of national badminton coach P. Gopichand, included, “creating a larger pool of coaches for the emerging players with a greater focus on Indian coaches.”