Several athletes from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme core and development groups, which include Tokyo Paralympics silver medalist Nishad Kumar and the table tennis star Manika Batra, received financial assistance from the Sports Ministry on Thursday to help them prepare for future competitions.
Nishad, who set an Asian record of 2.06m in the T-47 men's high jump, has been awarded Rs 18.9 lakh in funding to help him prepare at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. He and his physiotherapist Aalaap Jawadekar have already gone for the 73-day training camp, which began on Thursday and will end on August 12. Nishad, who will compete in the Asian Para Games next year, will train in Chula Vista under the direction of Jeremy Fischer, the centre's head coach and director.
Support has also been offered to paddlers Batra and Sreeja Akula. Although the Batra has been given financial aid to hire Chris Pfeiffer as her personal coach for the WTT Contender Zagreb (June 13-19), Sreeja has been given financial support to compete in the WTT Feeder Otocec, Slovenia (June 20-26).
Avinash Sable, a 3000m steeplechase runner who participated in the Tokyo Olympics, has also been given financial aid to fly to Colorado Springs. On June 5, he will participate in the Diamond League in Rabat, Morocco. Sable, who is a member of the TOPS core team, will also have a masseuse and a Garmin GPS watch to help her. He has received a total of Rs 3.52 lakh in cash aid.
Annu Rani, a Tokyo Olympian, has also received financial assistance for the purchase of Nemeth and Nordic Valhalla javelins, which would cost Rs 4.15 lakh. Swimmer Aneesh Gowda has received funding to compete in the Singapore National Swimming Championships (June 23-26), while men's sabre fencer Karan Singh has received funding to attend a training session at the Bauer Fencing Academy Orleans, France, from June 1 to July 31.
Karan will participate in the Asian Fencing Championship in Seoul from June 10-15 and the Senior World Fencing Championship in Cairo from July 15-23, all under the supervision and guidance of Christian Bauer. Olympian Bhavani Devi is the only other Indian fencer who trains with Bauer.