Mary Kom joined by Olympics-bound Simranjit Kaur in TOPS elite boxers group

Alongside Simranjit, Pooja Rani, Ashish Kumar and Satish Kumar are the three new entrants to the TOPS core group of boxers. Mary Kom was retained.

By Utathya Nag ·

Four Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian boxers - Simaranjit Kaur, Pooja Rani, Ashish Kumar and Satish Kumar - will be joining the likes of MC Mary Kom and Amit Panghal in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) core group of pugilists.

TOPS is the Indian sports ministry's flagship programme dedicated towards identifying potential Olympic medal winners and helping their preparations by providing financial and infrastructural aid.

World bronze medallist Simranjit Kaur (women's 60kg), 2019 Asian Championships gold medallist Pooja Rani (women's 75kg) were the two women added to the list. 

Six-time world champion and Olympic bronze medallist MC Mary Kom (women's 51kg) and two-time worlds bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (women's 69kg) were retained from the previous list.

For men's boxing, Asian silver medal winner Ashish Kumar (men's 75kg) and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Satish Kumar (men's 91+kg), who is the first Indian superheavyweight boxer to qualify for the Olympics, were the latest inclusions.

AIBA rank No. 1 Amit Panghal (men's 52kg), Manish Kaushik (men's 63kg), Vikas Krishan (men's 69kg) and Kavinder Singh Bisht (men's 57kg), meanwhile, kept their place in the TOPS elite group.

Barring Kavinder, an Asian silver-medallist, the remaining nine boxers have already qualified for Tokyo courtesy their performances at the Asian boxing qualifiers earlier this year.

Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) - the body responsible for running TOPS - dropped Nikhat Zareen (women's 51kg), Sonia Chahal (women's 57kg) and Shiva Thapa (women's 63kg) from the previous core group of boxers. The three, however, have been included in the developmental group - targeted towards moulding the future stars from the country.

Nikhat Zareen participates in the same weight category as Mary Kom while Shiva Thapa competes with Manish Kaushik in the 63kg division.