As many as 106 sportspersons have so far been given financial assistance under the ambitious Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme of the government, which funds medal prospect athletes for top-class training and preparation for the quadrennial Games.
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said in his written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha that “an amount of Rs 48882.50 lakh has been allocated for TOP Scheme from NSDF”.
“106 sportspersons have been selected as on date for giving them financial assistance under Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme, which is being implemented within the ambit of National Sports Development Fund (NSDF),” Sonowal said in his reply.
“The source of fund in the NSDF is the contribution from various sources and Government of India’s matching contribution. Sufficient funds are available in the NSDF for the purpose,” he added.
Out of the 106 sportspersons for whom funds have been allocated, 26 are from athletics, a discipline which has not won a single medal in the Olympics so far, followed by shooters (19), archers (16), shuttlers (10), boxers (10), wrestlers (9), para-athletes (9), tennis players (3), two sailors, one gymnast and one swimmer.
Prominent sportspersons among TOP Scheme beneficiaries include shooters Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Jitu Rai, Heena Sidhu and Apurvi Chandela, archer Deepika Kumari, shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu, boxers M C Mary Kom, Vijender Singh and Sarita Devi, tennis players Sania Mirza, Leander Paes, and wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt.
Four sportspersons—Bindra, Narang and fellow shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu, and discus thrower Vikas Gowda—have the highest allocations of Rs 112.50 lakh.
Shuttlers Saina, Sindhu, P Kashyap and K Srikanth are in the second highest slab of Rs 90 lakh while discus thrower Seema Punia, boxers Mary Kom, Vijender, Sarita and Devendro Singh, shooters Vijay Kumar, Heena Sidhu, Jitu Rai and P N Prakash, and wrestlers Sushil, Yogeshwar and Amit Kumar have been allocated Rs 75 lakh.
Among those who have been allocated Rs 60 lakh are Saina, Paes and Rohan Bopanna.