Manika Batra's Tokyo Olympics 2020 campaign came to an end on Monday with a 4-0 loss to Austria's Sofia Polcanova at Tokyo Metropolitan Gym, Table 1, in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. The 26-year-old's forehand was below par in the third-round encounter, so it was one-way traffic from the other end. But the fact that Batra was playing without a coach drew everyone's attention.
Batra was without a coach even throughout her victories in the first two rounds, which became a talking subject. Sanmay Paranjape, Manika's personal coach, accompanied her to Tokyo. Although he is not with the national squad at the Games Village, he is living in a hotel and is only granted access during training sessions.
According to the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) Secretary-General Arun Kumar Banerjee, Manika Batra's unwillingness to have national coach Soumyadeep Roy at her side during matches at the Tokyo Olympics will be discussed once the Indian team comes home.
Banerjee stated that the executive committee will decide on the course of action to be taken because Manika was unprofessional in referring to Soumyadeep as Sutirtha Mukherjee's personal coach.
"Personal coach is a wrong statement. Sutirtha plays in Soumyadeep's academy, but he is the national coach. To say that her coach was not allowed with her is wrong on Manika's part. She knew before leaving India what the access for the coaches would be. All the players and coaches know the extent of access each has," he said.
"Manika had applied for personal coach. We had recommended as well. When you know his access, to come to Tokyo and demand that her coach be there in place of Soumyadeep is wrong. To call him the personal coach of Sutirtha is wrong as he had taken national camp even before coming to Tokyo. The criteria are fixed and I asked Soumyadeep to speak to manager MP Singh and report it as he is there. I strongly oppose this," he told ANI.
When questioned if this was unwanted from Manika, he stated: "What is on her mind I can't say. Surprised she brought this up here after knowing the criteria. I will discuss this with the executive committee and decide what action needs to be taken. We have to bring this up when we are back."
Manika had earlier requested India's chef-de-mission BP Baishya to allow the field of play (FOP) access for her personal coach Sanmay Paranjape.
But MP Singh said FOP access for Manika's personal coach wasn't granted and the federation has to see what do when this type of situations arises next time. "We are not against players. But she should tell this to the government. Her personal coach got last-minute approval to travel to Tokyo, but FOP access was not granted to him," said MP Singh. "I think keeping this incident in mind, we will have to make a rule on who will take a call if this happens the next time," he added.
(Inputs from ANI)
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