Indian paddler Manika Batra crashed out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after losing in straight games to tenth seed from Austria, Sofia Polcanova. Manika though during all of her three games did not have a coach by her corner as she refused to have the Indian national coach by her side for the games. The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) Secretary-General Arun Kumar Banerjee has made it clear that Manika Batra not willing to have national coach Soumyadeep Roy by her side during matches at the Tokyo Olympics will be taken up for discussion once the contingent returns to India.
Banerjee said the committee will sit together and decide on the further action that needs to be taken since it was unprofessional for Manika to call Soumyadeep, the ‘personal coach of Sutirtha Mukherjee’.
Manika had requested to allow the field of play access for her personal coach Sanmay Paranjape
Manika preferred to play all of her singles matches without the national coach on the sidelines, with Paranjape advising her from the stands. The empty chair in her corner emerged as a talking point during India’s table tennis campaign at the Games’. “Our national coach here (Soumyadeep Roy) is Sutirtha’s personal coach, so it helped her. I think if my personal coach could also sit for my matches, it would have helped a lot,” Manika had said.
“Personal coach is a wrong statement. Sutirtha plays in Soumyadeep’s academy, but he is the national coach. To say her coach was not allowed with her is wrong on Manika’s part. She knew before leaving from India what is the access of the coaches. All the players and coaches know the extent of access each has. Manika had applied for a personal coach, which we had recommended as well", said Arun Kumar Banerjee.
"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 further added.
Meanwhile, MP Singh revealed that FOP access to Paranjape wasn’t granted and the federation will see what to do next time if a similar kind of situation arises in the future.