Manika declines guidance from national coach as personal coach denied access

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Manika Batra had mixed fortunes on Day One of the Tokyo 2020 Table Tennis competitions
Manika Batra won her first round match, but remained in news for an unwarranted reason. Photo Courtesy : SAI.

Manika Batra won her women’s singles match at the Tokyo 2020 table tennis event, but created sort of a controversy by declining assistance from national coach Soumyadeep Roy. The ace paddler is reportedly frustrated for being denied access personal coach Sanmay Paranjape, who did not get access to the field of play.

There was on one in the coach’s corner as Manika outplayed Tin-Tin Ho of Britain 4-0.

Paranajape has been allowed to travel to Tokyo with Manika. But he did not get an accreditation with access to the Game Village. He is staying at a hotel outside the Village. Manika is only getting his support during practice sessions.

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The 26-year-old had wanted Paranajpe’s accreditation to be upgraded so that he could be court-side during her matches. Team leader M P Singh, who is also a TTFI advisor and is in Tokyo, said Manika’s request for field-of-play access to her coach was denied by the organisers.

“After her request for on court access for her personal coach was denied, she refused to be coached by our national coach. I had to intervene in the matter but she also refused me to take Roy’s advice during the match,” Singh told PTI.

However, Roy was seen court-side when Sharath Kamal and Manika played their round of 16 match in mixed doubles. Roy is a member of the gold winning men’s team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and has been a long-time teammate to India’s table tennis great Sharath.

Manika was not available for comment.

With the Games happening in COVID-times, there were more restrictions on the number of support staff allowed with the team than usual. Paranjape, who is based in Pune, was cleared to travel to Tokyo but G Sathiyan’s coach S Raman, who is an Olympian, was not.