New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) Eyeing a splendid performance at 2024 Paris Olympics, the Sports Ministry on Thursday doubled the number of former athletes as core members in the revamped Mission Olympic Cell (MOC), making the body more athlete-centric. MOC drives India’s Olympics preparation through Target Olympics Podium Scheme (TOPS), an initiative of the ministry.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said the decision was driven by the experience gained in the last Olympic cycle.
“The inputs by former athletes in the incumbent MOC played a significant role in supporting the training and competition of the athletes who competed in Tokyo 2020 and won 7 medals & 19 in Para Olympic Games,” he said.
The new MOC will now include former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, World Athletics Championships long jump medallist Anju Bobby George, former India hockey captain Sardara Singh, rifle shooting legend Anjali Bhagwat, former hockey captain and CEO Olympic Gold Quest Viren Rasquinha, table tennis star Monalisa Mehta and badminton ace Trupti Murgunde.
Meanwhile, Olympian sailor and sports science specialist Malav Shroff will continue to be in the MOC. Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adile Sumeriwala and CEO TOPS Cmde Pushpendra Garg are other former players in the MOC.
Union minister Arjun Munda, Ajay Singh, and Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh by virtue of president of Archery Association of India, Boxing Federation of India, and Wrestling Federation of India, respectively will be part of the MOC.
MOC is a body set up by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to select athletes for financial assistance under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). The MOC also focusses on the selection, exclusion, and retention of athletes, coaches, training institutes that can receive TOPS assistance.
The Indian contingent produced unprecedented results by winning seven medals, including a historic athletics gold at the Tokyo Olympics, which was followed by record-breaking 19 medals at the Paralympics.
Mission Olympic Cell: Baichung Bhutia, Anju Bobby George, Anjali Bhagwat, Trupti Murgunde, Sardara Singh, Viren Rasquinha, Malav Shroff, Monalisa Mehta, Presidents of Indian Olympic Association, Wrestling Federation of India, Archery Association of India and Boxing Federation of India, Executive Director (TEAMS), SAI; Director (Sports), MYAS; CEO, TOPS (Convenor) and Joint CEO, TOPS (Co-convenor).
MOC will be chaired by Director General, SAI, Sandip Pradhan.