Indian athletics’ newest sensation Hima Das will be provided “end-to-end” support towards her preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the government’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
Hima scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships as she clinched the top spot in the women’s 400m final race in Tampere, Finland on Thursday.
“Hima, post her excellent performance at CWG 2018, where she ran her then personal best of 51.32, was inducted in ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in May 2018. Under the scheme, in addition to the Rs 50,000 per month as Out of Pocket Allowance (OPA), she would be provided end to end support towards her Olympic preparation by the Govt under the scheme,” said Sports India (erstwhile SAI) DG Neelam Kapur.
The 18-year-old from a village in Nagaon district of Assam, a pre-tournament favourite, clocked 51.46s to win the gold.
As per an earlier list, Hima was supposed to be funded by the government only until the upcoming 2018 Asian Games.
“Hima and the other 400m runners, post CWG, were sent to Spala Olympic Training Centre in Poland, for a month-long training in mid May, which was funded by the Govt. Post that she ran her personal best of 51.13s at the Inter-State Championship in Guwahati in June, 2018. Post the U-20 World Championship, she would be joining the other Indian 400m runners for pre-Asian Games camp, which has been funded by the Govt under Annual Calendar for Training and Competition.”
Win her win in Finland, Hima is only second to star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won a gold in Poland in the last edition in 2016 in a world record effort.
The beneficiaries under the TOPS will be reviewed after the Asian Games and the administrative mechanism of the programme will be completely overhauled, SAI had said earlier.