New Delhi: The government has allocated a budget of approximately Rs.260 crore for the participation of Indian athletes in the 2012 London Olympics, Sports Minister Ajay Maken told the Rajya Sabha Thursday.

Replying to supplementaries, the minister said Indian athletes would participate in 16 sports, including aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball and cycling.

"We have already spent Rs 111.19 crore, as on November 30, from Rs 260 crore earmarked for the preparation of our sports persons for the London Olympics," Sports Minister Ajay Maken said during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.
   
He said a total of 732 sports persons have been initially identified for grooming for the London Olympics. In all, 144 coaches, including 19 from overseas, have also been inducted to train the probables.
   
Out of the total expenditure on grooming, Rs 65 crore has so far been spent on foreign trips of the probables from various disciplines such as archery, boxing and athletics.
   
In the boxing discipline, four boxers - Devendro Singh, Jai Bhagwan, Manoj and Vikas Krishn - have already been qualified so far for taking part in the London Olympics on the basis of their performance in World Boxing Championship, held at Baku in Azerbaijan this year.
   
Responding to a question on Shiv Kumar Thapa, Maken said the talented boxer from the North-East lost out to Akhil Kumar in the selection trials for the weight category of 56 Kg for the World Boxing Championship, 2011.

"Hence, he has been kept as a reserve boxer in the weight category of 56 Kg," he said.

(Agencies)