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Mary, Sushil's Target Olympic Podium exclusion put on standby

Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Mary Kom and Sushil Kumar's exclusion from the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme has been put on standby following a meeting of the TOP committee chaired by former long jump champion Anju Bobby George on Tuesday. While Mary's chances of making it to the Rio Olympics hang by a thread, Sushil's fate will only be clear after a court hearing on May 27 regarding the conduct of a trial bout against fellow wrestler Narsingh Yadav. At Tuesday's meeting, 11 athletes were removed while four fresh names were added to the list.

The TOP has also suspended their support for wrestlers Geeta Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Rahul Aware and Amit Kumar Dahiya since they failed to qualify for the Olympics.

The TOP scheme under the National Sports Development Fund was set up by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in 2014 with the objective of identifying and supporting potential medal prospects for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. The 11 athletes who have been struck off the list include boxer Sarita Devi, badminton players P Kaskyap and HS Prannnoy, and archers Tarundeep Rai, Dola Banerjee, Rahul Banerjee.

Speaking to ESPN, Anju said: "We did not want to jump the gun with any decision. Since Mary still has some chance of qualification we wanted to go slow on it. As far as Sushil is concerned, it will follow the court verdict."