Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS): Features, Recent Success
The Target Olympic Podium Scheme is a flagship program of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to provide assistance to India’s top athletes. The Scheme looks to add a premium to the preparations of these athletes so that they can win Olympic medals in 2020 and 2024 Olympics. Under the Scheme, the Department of Sports shall identify athletes who are potential medal winners in 2020 / 2024 Olympics. The idea of the Scheme is to also keep an eye in the future and fund a Developmental Group of Athletes who are medal prospects for the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles Games in 2028
To fulfill the objective of this scheme, a committee (TOPS Elite Athletes’ Identification Committee) was constituted to identify the elite athletes who could achieve the Olympic podium. The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports is responsible for appointment of TOPS members with emphasis on ensuring representation from ‘High-Priority’ sports (Archery, Badminton, Boxing Hockey, Shooting and Wrestling). 36 athletes have so far agreed to join the Scheme. 20 have submitted their programmes
India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL), a PSU under the Ministry of Finance, has agreed to contribute Rs. 30 crore to National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) by contribution of Rs. 10 crore per annum for next three years. Contribution of Rs. 10 crore for 2015-16 has already been received.
Features of Target Olympic Podium Scheme
- The selected athletes will be provided financial assistance for their customized training at Institutes having world class facilities and other necessary support
- Benchmark for selection of athletes under the scheme will be in relation to international standards
- There will be annual/semi-annual review of performance of selected athletes
The TOPS sponsored athletes gained relative success at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. P V Sindhu and Sakshi Malik captured silver and bronze in Badminton and Wrestling respectively at the 2016 Rio Olympics. In the 2016 Paralympic Games, the TOPS Athletes won 2 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze demonstrating the effectiveness of the Scheme. The recent success of the Commonwealth Games emphasized the efficacy of the Scheme. Out of the 70 athletes who won medals at the CWG, 47 of them were supported under the TOP Scheme.
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