Four Tokyo Olympians – golfers Aditi Ashok, Anirban Lahiri and Diksha Dagar and equestrian Fouaad Mirza – and alpine skier Mohammed Arif Khan have been added to India’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) core group.
Golfers Shubhankar Sharma and Tvesa Malik and judokas Yash Ghangas, Unnati Sharma and Linthoi Chanambam have also been added to the TOPS Development group – the second-tier for up and coming youngsters.
Under the aegis of the Indian sports ministry, the TOPS is a flagship programme dedicated to identifying potential Olympic and Paralympic medal winners and helping their training by providing financial and infrastructural aid.
The Mission Olympic Cell (MOC), a dedicated body established to identify and assist TOPS athletes, decides inclusions and exclusions from the TOPS list. The latest additions take the number of athletes under TOPS to 301, including 107 in the core group.
Aditi Ashok impressed at Tokyo2020 after her unlikely medal push throughout the women’s golf event. The 23-year-old from Bengaluru narrowly missed the podium and finished fourth.
Diksha Dagar, a silver medallist at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics, finished 50th at Tokyo while Anirban Lahiri finished 42nd at the Games.
Fouaad Mirza, the first Indian equestrian to qualify for the Olympics in 20 years, won the Eventing individual silver medal at the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta and finished 23rd at Tokyo 2020.
The 29-year-old also registered two top-10 finishes in Sopot (in Poland) in September and Pratoni del Vivaro (In Italy) in November last year.
Based in Germany, Fouaad Mirza is ranked 87th in the world currently.
Mohammed Arif Khan is currently the only Indian to have qualified for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Teenage judokas Yash Ghangas (+100kg class), Linthoi Chanambam (57kg) and Unnati Sharma (63kg) won a silver medal each in the Asia-Oceania Junior Championships in Lebanon, Beirut, last month.