Star archer Deepika Kumari and her husband Atanu Das were dropped from the Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) on Thursday due to their below-par performances in the national ranking tournament.
The Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) last month decided to review support for Deepika, a former world number one recurve archer, and Atanu after the National Ranking Archery Tournament in Hyderabad, where they cut a sorry figure.
“Considering their below-par performances at the event, MOC decided not to include them in the TOPS list for now,” the Sports Ministry said in a statement.
Both Deepika and Atanu have time and again failed to perform at the multi-sport events – the latest being the Tokyo Olympics, where much was expected from them.
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Their problems compounded after the below-par performance at the World Cup Finals in Yankton, USA, last October.
Aware of their immense contribution in raising the profile of archery in the country, the decision was conveyed to the duo by MOC members, SAI and Archery Association of India officials.
Deepika said the TOPS omission would only motivate her to come back stronger.
“I appreciate that SAI officials informed me before the MOC meeting itself that there was a possibility of me being excluded from the TOP Scheme. I will be motivated to return with good scores in the competitions ahead,” Deepika was quoted as saying in the sports ministry release.
Atanu Das added: “We were very disturbed that we could not get the results we wanted in the Olympic Games. And we took a break from competitive archery after the Olympic Games. I know it is a matter of time before we find the form and get back to where we belong. ” The MOC has approved proposals worth Rs 6.56 lakh for two development group athletes to assist them in their preparation for this year’s Asian Games and other international events.
The MOC has sanctioned Rs 4.14 lakh to 20-year-old pistol shooter Naveen, who finished fourth in the 10m air pistol competition in the ISSF World Junior Shooting Championships in Peru.
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The grant will help him purchase equipment – a Steyr Evo 10 E pistol and a Scatt MX-W2 wireless optical sensor.
Besides, the MOC has also approved Rs 2.42 lakh for 17-year-old recurve archer Ridhi, who was part of the Indian women’s team that won silver at the Asian Championships in Dhaka in November last year.
The financial assistance will enable the young archer to purchase Hoyt Formula Velos limbs for her bow and X10 arrows.
Ridhi was impressed when she fought hard against Japan’s world number 29 Tomomi Sugimoto at the World Championships in Yankton, USA, last September.
The MOC also ratified the approval of a Rs 4 lakh proposal from para shooter Manish Narwal towards the purchase of ammunition and board and lodging costs of his Dronacharya Award-winning coach JP Nautiyal.