New Delhi: Left in the lurch after the sudden closure of Mittal Champions Trust (MCT), world champion ace shooter Ronjan Sodhi has been picked up by Anglian Medal Hunt Company, while two more top athletes are also likely to be signed up by the sports management firm.
While Ronjan, a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee, has already come on board, talks are in the final stages with a couple of more sportspersons, according to AMHC CEO Maneesh Bahuguna.
"You can say Ronjan is confirmed, and there are 1-2 athletes who we are in touch with. We can`t disclose the names as yet, as the contracts are not signed," Bahuguna told PTI Thursday.
Pleased to be picked up by Anglian, Ronjan said, "I am very happy to be a part of it, and there should be more such initiatives, especially for the young talents."
Bahuguna said, "We have very limited budget. They (MCT) are big scale and they spent a lot. We want to help the athletes. Say, for example, we can provide the cutting edge to mind training... More hands-on approach, a bit about the nutrition part.
"We don`t do major marketing, as we feel that takes away the focus."
There are 26 athletes contracted with Anglian, with some of them as young as 11 years.
"We focus a lot on grassroots but there are a few seniors like Anissa Sayed (shooter). There are two more shooters, Mampi Das and Samarjit Singh," Bahuguna said.
The MCT, which funded several of the country`s top athletes, has shut shop recently, resulting in a setback to Indian sportspersons, who are preparing to take part in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games later this year.
The non-profit trust financed by steel magnate Laxmi Mittal, was founded in 2005, and was associated with nearly 40 top athletes, including two Olympic medallists, 16 medal winners at the 2010 Asian Games and 12 medallists at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
MCT was crucial to Abhinav Bindra winning India`s first individual gold at the Olympics in Beijing 2008. Four years later, Yogeshwar Dutt bagged a bronze at the London Olympics.
Other MCT-backed athletes included Ronjan, Bombayla Kumari, Preeja Sridharan, Akhil Kumar and Dipika Pallikal.
The MCT had also backed Olympic medal winners -- boxer Vijender Singh and shuttler Saina Nehwal.
Besides Bindra and Ronjan, Heena Sidhu and Joydeep Karmakar were the other shooters who were involved with MCT.