Swapna Barman has been left out of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Development Group as part of the latest list of 258 sportspersons, even though athletes who served doping bans have been included.
Swapna Barman is an Asian Games gold medallist at the 2018 Jakarta and is also the first Indian to win a gold in heptathlon.
"It is a big surprise that Swapna, who has been one of the country's top performers over the last three years, is not in the list. Having won the Asian Games gold and silver at the 2019 Asian Championships in Doha, she is surely in contention to qualify for the Paris Games," a top coach told TOI.
"In combined events, athletes get to their peak form late as they have to master each of the events. In Swapna's case she has already proved herself at the Asian level and deserves all the support to continue her fine show," the coach said.
Swapna said even though she is disappointed, she will continue to work hard.
"I don't want to think negatively about this. I will try my best to excel at the international level," Swapna told TOI.
The likes of U-16 national long jump record holder Shaili Singh. While javelin-thrower Rohit Yadav, who had tested positive for stanozolol (anabolic steroid), was handed a four-year doping ban by National Anti-Doping Agency in 2017 after winning the silver medal in Asian Youth Athletics Championship.
Yadav had his ban reduced to one year from May 22, 2017, by the NADA panel after hearing his case on August 28, 2017.
TOPS Development Group (Athletics)
Men: Shivpal Singh, Rohit Yadav, Amoj Jacob, Jabir MP, Santosh Kumar Tamilarasan, Ajay Kumar Saroj, Sahil Silwal
Women: Kaveri Patil, Daneshwari AT, Kiran, Jisna Mathew, Venkatesan Subha, Vismaya VK, Anjali Devi, Lili Das, Bhawna Jat