Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian Women’s boxer Simranjit Kaur has joined MC Mary Kom in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) core group of professional boxers.
Along with Kaur, another Women’s boxer — Pooja Rani — has been added to the list as well, whereas Ashish Kumar and Satish Kumar are the two men’s boxers who have joined Amit Pangal in the same list.
TOPS — Indian sports ministry’s flagship programme — is dedicated towards identifying potential Olympic medal winners and helping their preparations by providing financial and infrastructural aid.
Simranjit Kaur is the World Bronze medalist in the women’s 60 Kg category whereas Pooja Rani was the gold medalist in the women’s 75 Kg category at the 2019 Asian Championships.
Mary Kom, a six-time world champion and olympic bronze medalist in the women’s 51 kg category, ans Lovlina Borgohain — two time world bronze medalist — were the two Women’s boxers retained from the previous list.
As far as the selected players in the men’s category are considered, Ashish Kumar is an Asian Silver medal winner in the men’s 75 kg category and Satish Kumar is a Commonwealth Games Silver medalist in the men’s 91+ kg category. Satish is also the first Indian superheavyweight boxer to qualify for the Olympics.
The men’s players who kept their places in the TOPS list are AIBA rank No. 1 Amit Panghal (men’s 52kg), Manish Kaushik (men’s 63kg), Vikas Krishan (men’s 69kg) and Kavinder Singh Bisht (men’s 57kg).
However, out of the nine boxers in the list, only Kavinder is yet to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The other eight confirmed their qualifications on the back of their performances at the Asian Boxing qualifiers earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Mission Olympic Cell (MOC), which is the body that runs the TOPS programme, dropped Nikhat Zareen (women’s 51kg), Sonia Chahal (women’s 57kg) and Shiva Thapa (women’s 63kg) from the previous core group of boxers. However, they have been included in the developmental group which is targeted towards mouldings the future stars from the country.
Nikhat Zareen competes in the same category (Women’s 51kg) as Mary Kom whereas Shiva Thapa is in the 63kg men’s category along with Manish Kaushik.