In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today Shri Sonowal said, in order to support Indias best medal prospects for 2016 and 2020 Olympics and other major sporting events up to 2020 Olympics, the Ministry has started a Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOP Scheme) promoted by the National Sports Development Fund. An Elite Athletes Identification Committee has been set up under the chairpersonship of Shri Anurag Thakur, Member of Parliament and having Shri Rahul Dravid, Shri Pullella Gopichand, Shri Abhinav Bindra and Ms. Manisha Malhotra as members among others to evaluate and select talented potential medal prospects for 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games for support under the TOP Scheme; Focused disciplines will be Athletics, Archery, Badminton, Boxing, Wrestling and Shooting.
The Minister said, Indian sports persons won 6 medals (1 in Badminton, 1 in Boxing, 2 in Shooting and 2 in Wrestling) in the last edition of the Olympic Games held at London in 2012 and it is expected that India will improve its medals tally in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Indian sportspersons in the disciplines of Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Hockey, Shooting, Tennis and Wrestling are likely to win medals or give respectable performance in the World level events including Olympic Games.
He said, the Government is in the process of launching the National Sports Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS) with the objectives of identification of sporting talent among students in the age group of 8-12 years (for admission in Class IV to Class VI) and nurturing of the sporting potential/ talent in District level Sports Schools/ Central Sports Schools/ Junior Sports Academies etc., to make them excel in the National and international sports competitions.