In a significant development, the Sports Ministry's Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) on Wednesday approved Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia's 35-day training camp in the United States ahead of Commonwealth Games. According to reports, the Target Olympics Podium Scheme (TOPS) would be funding Bajrang's travel, boarding and daily costs towards training camp in Michigan, USA from June 25 till July 30.
Bajrang Punia was one of the favourites to win a Gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year but the wrestler had to fight repechage to finish with a bronze. The star wrestler had won a bronze at the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup 2022 wrestling tournament in Almaty earlier this month.
The scheme will also take care of expenses for his coach and physiotherapist. In another major development, MOC has also approved financial assistance towards the procurement of two T20 Proteam Look TT track bikes for TOPS development cyclists. Notably, the T20 bikes are updated top-of-the-range track bikes that were also used by the French national team at the Tokyo Olympics.
The SAI informed that the bike is lighter, stiffer and more aerodynamically efficient than its predecessors. "The new bikes will boost athlete's preparation for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games this year and we are hoping for better performance from the Indian contingent in the upcoming competition," read the SAI statement.
Shooter Anish Bhanwala also got much-needed approval for foreign training and competition in Germany at the Shooting Sports Center, Suhl for 20 days. Anish will be training under renowned pistol coach Ralf Schumann in Germany.
The Commonwealth Games 2022 will get underway in Birmingham from July 28 with the games coming to a close on August 8. India finished third on the medals table in CWG 2018 with 26 gold, 20 silver and 20 bronze behind leaders Australia and England. Recently, India named a 37-member athletics squad for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games including Neeraj Chopra, Dutee Chand and Hima Das.