Recently, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) has approved wrestler Vinesh Phogat’s proposal to train in Belmeken, Bulgaria, which is a High Altitude training area situated approximately 2600m above sea level.
About TOPS scheme –
- In order to improve India’s performance at Olympics and Paralympics, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports started the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in September 2014.
- This was revamped in April 2018 to have a technical support team for managing the TOPS athletes and providing holistic support.
- The scheme is fully functional and has been extending all requisite support to probable athletes identified for the Tokyo-2021, Paris-2024 and Los Angles – 2028 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games including foreign training, international competition, equipment and coaching camp besides monthly stipend of Rs. 50,000/- for each athlete.
- High priority category of sports discipline has been identified to put focus on and incentivise those sports disciplines played in the Olympics in which India has won medals in the last conducted Asian Games as well as Commonwealth Games or in which India has good chance of winning medals in the upcoming Olympics of 2024 (Paris) and 2028 (Los Angeles). Presently, nine sports disciplines viz., (i) Athletics, (ii) Badminton (iii) Hockey (iv) Shooting (v) Tennis (vi) Weightlifting (vii) Wrestling, (viii) Archery and (ix) Boxing have been categorised as ‘High Priority’.
- Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), which covers the junior and sub-junior athletes also, is a dynamic exercise, wherein review of performance is done periodically fixing targets and intermediate milestones for individual athletes; and the sportspersons who fail to achieve the targets despite providing additional support and adequate time are dropped from the scheme.
- Further, on the basis on key performance indicators brought out by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in collaboration with the National Sports Federations (NSFs), Coaches and other stakeholders, a periodic performance review is conducted for all athletes under the Scheme.
- TOPS Elite Athletes’ Identification Committee —
- It was constituted to identify the elite athletes who could achieve the Olympic podium.
- MYAS is responsible for appointment of TOPS members with emphasis on ensuring representation from ‘High-Priority’ sports (Archery, Badminton, Boxing Hockey, Shooting and Wrestling).
- The total members of the committee are to be decided by MYAS. TOPS constitution does not stipulate minimum/maximum members for the committee.