The recent list for Target Olympics Podium Scheme (TOPS) Development Group was out by the management. The name of Asian Games Gold medallist heptathlon athlete Swapna Barman is not included in the list, whereas an athlete who was banned by NADA in the past for using doping substances is a part of it. Following this instance, a top coach of our country said in an interview that he was very surprised as Swapna’s name was not included in the list.
Swapna’s achievements in the heptathlon
Swapna has been a top-level performer in women’s heptathlon for our nation for the past three years. She is very consistent with her game and had bagged silver as well as gold medal in Asian games in 2019 held in Doha. The coach also said that being one of the gold medalist heptathletes, Swapna deserves to be in the TOPS list, and she will also definitely qualify for the Paris Games.
Her constant performance in Asian Athletics
In combined events, most of the athletes regain their peak form late in the competition because they have to work on every game and master it, but this was not the case with Swapna. She showed an example of pure class from the start of the events and performed well in all Asian games competitions. She has proved herself and deserves all the support from the management to continue her excellent play.
Swapna’s performance in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games was remarkable, and she became the first Indian heptathlete to win a gold medal in the heptathlon. The 23-year old athlete was quite disappointed after the list was out, but she said that she would work hard and continue her training. She believes a positive attitude breeds positivity and will work on her game to excel at the international level.
The debate on the list
Another top-level athlete named Shaili Singh (15 years) was also missing from the TOPS list. She is seen as one of the contenders for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. She holds a U-16 national record for long jump and is currently training at SAI Center, Bengaluru.
Meanwhile, javelin-thrower Rohit Yadav, banned in 2017 by NADA for using stanozolol (anabolic steroid), was included in that TOPS list. Though the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has denied claims that the TOPS list was prepared in the consultation with it, TOPS sources have contradicted their statement and have confirmed the allegations.