Indian Swimmers have been approved financial support for participation in various competitions this year via the Union Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) and the Annual Calendar for Training and Competition (ACTC) scheme. The assistance, after approval from the Mission Olympic Cell (MOC), has been forwarded to Sajan Prakash, Srihari Nataraj, Maana Patel and Kenisha Gupta. While Sajan and Srihari are currently a part of the TOPS Core group, Maana and Kenisha are from the TOPS Development Group.
Sajan, who competed at the Tokyo Olympics, has been cleared an amount of Rs 15.1 Lakh (excluding pool fees and airfare), towards expenditure on training as well as participation in multiple competitions and training camps.
He will compete in the Danish Open, Denmark, in the middle of April, before taking part in three Mare Nostrum events across Monaco, Barcelona and Canet in May. Sajan will then take part in a High-Altitude training camp at the Sierra Nevada training centre in Spain between June and July.
“We are focused towards achieving big at the Big Two meets. We have some qualifying meets in April, May and June before the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. These meets will act as preparatory competitions for us to know where we stand to peak at the right time,” Sajan told Sports Authority of India from his training base in Dubai.
Srihari Nataraj, who also competed in Tokyo 2020, has been approved an assistance of Rs 22.02 Lakh towards expenditure on domestic training and participation towards multiple competitions. The financial support also includes expenses for his personal coach and physiotherapist. Srihari will take part in the French Open Swimming Championships, starting March 31 and Mare Nostrum, scheduled for May 18 to 23.
Tokyo Olympian Maana Patel and youngster Kenisha Gupta, meanwhile, have been sanctioned Rs 3.89 Lakh each for their participation in the French Open Swimming Championships, which also acts as a qualification event for the Swimming World Championships in Budapest in June.
Speaking on the assistance provided by the Central Government, Sajan mentioned, “This is a big support and now, an opportunity that will help us to match the world standard. I’m also very proud to see Maana, Srihari, Kenisha and others being consistent in their field and looking hungry to achieve more.”