Target Olympic Podium Scheme will be strengthened to extend greater support to athletes: Anurag Thakur
New Delhi, September 4, 2021
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Friday announced that his Ministry will continue to support India’s Paralympians with facilities and funding so that they may continue to excel internationally.
Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) will be taken forward and further strengthened to extend greater support to athletes under the scheme, he said adding that "the outstanding performances of Indian para-athletes have not only made the country proud but have also given the courage that every dream can be achieved."
The Minister made this announcement while felicitating Paralympic Games medalists -- throwers Sumit Antil (Gold Medal), Devendra Jhajharia (Javelin Throw, Silver Medal), Yogesh Kathuniya (Silver Medal), and high jumper Sharad Kumar (Bronze Medal) here.
Minister of State for Sports Nisith Pramanik; Secretary, Sports, Ravi Mittal, and other officials of the Ministry were also present at the occasion.
Thakur said, “India is ecstatic at the brilliant performance of our Paralympians; we’ve already equalled the Paralympics medals tally vis-vis all the previous Paralympics! Paralympians are India’s pride.
"In the Tokyo Paralympics, India had sent the largest contingent so far and this team has performed the best ever and has taken the number of medals into double digits.
"These para-athletes are an inspiration for everyone today. The way Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken interest in sports and motivated athletes has inspired our players to give their best," he said.
"I once again congratulate Sumit Antil, Devendra Jhajharia, Yogesh Kathuniya, and Sharad Kumar for their brilliant performance. Sumit has not only won the gold in Javelin Throw but also created a world record.
Devendra grabbed a silver medal, with a personal best throw of 64.35. This was his third medal at Paralympic Games. Yogesh Kathuniya won the silver medal in Discus Throw and Sharad Kumar won the bronze medal in the high jump. They all have become role models for millions, the Minister added.
He further elaborated that the government's approach in extending support to athletes for international competitions has undergone a transformational change.
The minister was of the view that there could not be a greater tribute to Major Dhyan Chand that our para-athletes won four medals on the National Sports Day. He further said that the extraordinary performance of India by winning the 1983 cricket World Cup has changed the entire approach towards sports and boosted the confidence and morale of athletes across various sporting disciplines.
On Avani’s performance, he said that winning two medals in one Olympic is remarkable and the whole nation is proud of her.
The athletes felt that it was due to the motivation by the Prime Minister that the confidence of the athletes was of an entirely different level this time. Due to financial support and facilities extended to them, the athletes felt that the Government has adopted and supported them which gave a tremendous boost to their morale.
During their interaction, the para-athletes said it is unprecedented that the Prime Minister has taken such personal interest in interacting with and inspiring the athletes