Four shuttlers included in TOP scheme

New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) The Sports Ministry announced on Monday that badminton players Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa, Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Atri have been included in the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme.

“Badminton players Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa, Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Atri have been selected under the TOP Scheme. These players are entitled to receive funding from NSDF for training and competition in preparation for Rio Olympics 2016,” the ministry said in a statement.

Athletes selected for the TOP scheme get finances from the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) for their training and equipment.

“In a communication sent to these players, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has asked them to start making their training plan in consultation with the chief coach of doubles and list out their requirements.”

The decision puts an end to the controversy kicked off by the women’s doubles pair of Jwala and Ashwini who had accused the ministry and chief national coach Pullela Gopichand of being biased against them after being overlooked for the scheme earlier.

Gopichand is a member of the committee that picks players for the scheme.

Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, P. Kashyap, K. Srikanth, Guru Saidutt and H.S. Prannoy were the first to be included in the TOP scheme in April.

However, Jwala and Ashwini had raised a ruckus which prompted the ministry to announce in July that the duo will be a part of the next list of athletes to be included in the scheme.

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