New Delhi: Forty five athletes from six disciplines have been identified as potential medal winners for the 2016 Rio Olympics and they will be integrated into the "Target Olympic Podium Scheme" (TOP), a sports ministry release said on Monday.
The 45 athletes were chosen from sporting disciplines athletics, badminton, boxing, shooting, wrestling and sailing. Around 30 more athletes are to be identified from archery and athletics.
Out of these 45 athletes, consent via email has been sent by 37 athletes, 23 have signed the agreement and 18 have given their programmes/requests for preparation for the 2016 Olympics, the release added.
The ministry said it has already sanctioned around Rs.1 crore for six athletes namely Vikas Gowda (athletics), Abhinav Bindra, Heena Sidhu, Manavjit Singh Sandhu (shooting), Aishwarya and Varsha (sailing).
A further amount of Rs.88 lakh is in the pipeline to be sanctioned shortly subject to submission of clarifications/documents by athletes from archery, shooting, wrestling and athletics.
The total estimated budget for supporting the 75 athletes for the TOP scheme is around Rs.40-45 crore.
This is over and above the support being provided by the department under the scheme of assistance to National Sports Development Fund (NSDFs) through the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
The ministry has initiated the TOP scheme under the NSDF for identification of athletes who are potential medal winners in Olympics and providing support to them for preparation for the quadrennial mega event.