8 para athletes from four different sports included in TOPS scheme

The Sports Ministry has included eight para athletes, including four who have qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics, in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.

The decision was taken by the Mission Olympic Cell at its meeting on November Thursday. The eight athletes are from athletics, shooting, badminton and table tennis.

From para-athletics, Vinod Kumar and Ajit Kumar Panchal (both men’s discus throw) and Praveen Kumar (men’s high jump) have been included in the scheme while Virender Dhankar (men’s shot put) and Jayanti Behera (women’s 400m) have been dropped.

Both Vinod and Praveen have already qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics.

In para-badminton, women’s doubles pair of Parul Parmar and Palak Kohli, currently ranked world number 5 in the race to qualification for the Paralympics, has been included in the TOPS scheme.

Tokyo Paralympics-bound Siddharth Babu (men’s 50m rifle prone event) and Rubina Francis (women’s 10m air pistol) have been included in the TOPS scheme from para-shooting while Deepender (men’s 10m air pistol) has been dropped.

Para table tennis player Bhavina Patel, ranked 8th in the world, has been included in the TOPS scheme. She will be the first Indian to represent the country in para table tennis at the Paralympics.