The ambitious TOPS programme is facing the threat of another Rio Games-like disaster amidst tardy implementation and red-tapism. The concern is raised by the high-profile committee of former athletes, who have selected the 184 sportspersons for scholarship and training facilities under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
Indian Express has reported quoting sources that none of the athletes selected for TOPS have received the required support for their training. The selected players are as of now getting only Rs 50,000 stipend, sanctioned by Minister of Youth Affair and Sports and Athen Games medalist Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
The committee, consisting of Prakash Padukone, PT Usha, and Karnam Malleswari, has sought a status report on the TOPS programme from the sports ministry.
Beijing Games gold medallist Abhinav Bindra has resigned from the committee citing conflict of interest with his personal businesses.
The committee has raised its concern in a letter to Sports Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, expressing fears of a Rio-Games like disaster. The 117-strong Indian contingent had returned with just a silver and a bronze.
Indian Express report, quoting sources, states that none of the athletes selected for TOPS have received necessary support for their training apart from the monthly stipend of Rs 50,000 that was announced by the sports minister in September.
The report states that request from some of the selected athletes for additional support staff or a training stint abroad has been stuck with the Ministry for weeks.
The scheme has also been criticised for its faulty implementation as athletes’ proposal were held up in bureaucratic bottlenecks.