Tanisha Crasto balances her time between training and studies
Tanisha Crasto balances her time between training and studies Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: UAE-based Indian junior badminton ace Tanisha Crasto is confident that her inclusion in the Indian Government’s Target Olympics Podium Scheme (TOPS) will help her dream big towards a possible Olympic medal.

The TOPS is a flagship programme of India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports that attempts to provide assistance to some of India’s top athletes.


The basic aim of the scheme is to add a premium to the preparations of these athletes so that they can win Olympic medals in future editions of the Games. The idea of the scheme is to also keep an eye in the future and fund a developmental group of athletes who are medal prospects for the Olympic Games at 2024 Paris and 2028 Los Angeles.

“I am very excited with this news. This means so much to me as I suddenly see so many better possibilities and options before me now,” Crasto told Gulf News.

“The inclusion in the scheme also means that now I get to play many more international tournaments and I will be part of a truly personalised fitness and training process that could help me achieve my dream of an Olympic medal in the future.”

A Grade 12 commerce student at The Indian High School (IHS), Dubai, 17-year-old Crasto will continue in Dubai balancing her time between her Board Examinations next year and the postponed BWF World Junior Championships now scheduled for January 11-24, 2021.

“The idea is to prioritise academics at this juncture. My examinations will be held possibly at the end of February next year, and I have limited time to really be in tune with my studies,” Crasto said.

“Besides, as far as the coronavirus goes, I think Dubai is much safer at this moment than heading back to India.”

A normal day for Crasto means three training sessions — the first one from 7am to 9am, the second from noon to 2pm and the last one from 7pm to 9pm — at the Prime Star Sport Academy in Karama. “The weekend is my time for badminton, but that doesn’t mean I have the liberty of skipping studies,” she said.

“I know that nothing comes easy, and that all the hard work that I am now putting into my studies and my badminton will one day reap proper rewards.”

In between classes five times a week from 7am to 3pm, Crasto makes time for mandatory training sessions conducted via Zoom by the coaching staff from the Hyderabad-based Gopichand Badminton Academy.

“As far as I have understood, there will be no major changes when it comes to my training and coaching routine. I will continue with the Gopichand Badminton Academy, but the focus will be more on those who fall under the TOPS programme,” Crasto said.

Established in September 2014, TOPS has an Elite Athletes’ Identification Committee concentrating on ‘high-priority’ sports such as Archery, Badminton, Boxing, Hockey, Shooting and Wrestling, among others. Crasto is one of the 27 badminton players from a total of 252 athletes identified under the scheme.

The TOPS-sponsored athletes gained relative success at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2018 Commonwealth Games with PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik capturing silver and bronze in Badminton and Wrestling, respectively in Brazil. In the 2016 Paralympic Games, the TOPS Athletes won a couple of gold and one silver and bronze demonstrating the effectiveness of the scheme.

The efficacy of the scheme was proved to a maximum at the 2018 Commonwealth Games as 47 out of the 70 athletes who won medals, were supported under TOPS.