New Delhi [India], March 10 (ANI): With just over four months left for the Tokyo Olympics, the Mission Olympic Cell has sanctioned INR 50,000 per athlete as an out-of-pocket allowance for the members of the Indian men's and women's hockey team under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
A total of 58 hockey players, 33 in men's and 25 in women's will benefit from this decision. The decision will be a big morale booster for the athletes as they look to make a strong push to win India's first Olympic medal in the sport since 1980.
"This is a big incentive for all the players in the Men's Core Group who are preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games. We are very elated on hearing about this news, and would like to thank the government," skipper Indian men's hockey team, Manpreet Singh, said in a statement.
"We have many players who come from very difficult economic backgrounds and an allowance of this accord will definitely help them pursue the sport through to the Olympic Games without any hindrance," he added.
This will be the first time that the women's team will be considered under TOPS for OPA.
Captain, Women's Hockey team, Rani Rampal hailed the decision to bring the women's team under TOPS saying, "This is the first time the entire Women's Hockey Core Group has been included in the TOPS Scheme and we are very thankful to the government."
"This decision taken today really goes to show that Women's Hockey is equally important, and we are being given equal benefits which is a big encouragement for us. This will be a huge encouragement to the core group who are preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games," she added.
Gyanendro Ningombam, President, Hockey India said, "On behalf of Hockey India, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for approving OPA. This will certainly be a big encouragement for the players ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games." (ANI)