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Table Tennis

Manika Batra vs TTFI- A timeline of the controversy so far

We bring you a concise timeline of events that transpired between paddler Manika Batra and the TTFI, in the aftermath of the Tokyo Olympics.

Manika Batra at Tokyo Olympics
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Manika Batra at Tokyo Olympics (Source: Reuters)

By

Rajdeep Saha

Updated: 2021-09-22T11:06:25+05:30

The world of sport is rife with controversies. And the recent participant of one is star table tennis player Manika Batra. Currently, she is in a tiff with the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) over her refusal to be under the guidance of national coach Soumyadeep Roy. Later, Batra had come out with allegations against the coach which furthered this row between the organisation and the player.

Here's the timeline of events so far:

Manika Batra has been left out of the Asian TT Championships squad (Source: Getty)

- 20th August, 2021: TTFI issues a show-cause notice to Manika Batra

It all started in early August with the TTFI sending Manika Batra a show-cause notice to explain her decision of not taking coach Roy's help during the Tokyo Olympics. At the Tokyo event, Manika played phenomenally, sans a coach by her side and even made it till Round 3, before losing to Sofia Polcanova, 4-0. The current World No 56 had decided to take her personal coach, Sanmay Paranjape, with her but unfortunately, he was not allowed to be in the match arena. Despite promising stern action, the table tennis body took quite some time to present the notice to the national player on the grounds of apparent "technical glitches".

- 3rd September, 2021: Manika Batra replies to show-cause; alleges National Coach Soumyadeep Roy of match-fixing

Within two weeks, the paddler replied to the show-cause notice with serious allegations of match-fixing against national coach Soumyadeep Roy. She alleged that Roy had asked her to throw away matches during the Olympic qualifiers. Batra has clearly stated that she has the necessary proof and evidence to corroborate her side of the story. According to her, Roy had called her to his hotel room where he tried to convince Batra to throw the match for the benefit of his student. The student referred here is Sutirtha Mukherjee who also took part in the Tokyo games where she bowed out in the second round.

Roy, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist and an Arjuna Awardee, is still yet to present his side of the story. He was also not allowed to attend the national camp that took place in the first weeks of September at Sonepat, ending on the 15th of this month, in the run-up to the biennial Asian Table Tennis Championships.

- 31st August and 6th September, 2021 - TTFI mails Manika Batra, asking for a confirmation to attend the National Camp

Originally, TTFI had kept the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist's name in the squad for the Asian Championships and had sent in two e-mails asking her to confirm her presence at the pre-tournament National Camp. The second mail mentioned, "If you are not joining the camp then you will not be considered for the Asian championships." However, Manika did not respond to the mails.

- 15th September, 2021 - Manika Batra left out of the Asian TT Championships squad

With Batra's lack of response to the mails and absence from the camp, the TTFI decided to rule out Manika Batra as they found her ineligble for selection for the upcoming continental event.

- 17th September, 2021: Manika Batra mails back to the TTFI and asks for her name to be included

Displeased with the action of TTFI to exclude their star player from the tournament, Manika shot back an e-mail and asked to be included in the squad.

- 18th September, 2021: Manika Batra moves the Delhi High Court, files a petition

In a recent turn of events, the Delhi High Court has asked the central government to step in in the light of Manika Batra's petition. The player has been left out of the national contingent for the upcoming Asian Championships on the grounds of being absent from the national camp that ended about a week ago. Batra, through her petition, questions the arbitrary rule of mandatory presence in the camp in order to be selected for the championship and also pleads her case to be included in the contingent.

With the matter to be heard again on the 23rd of September, it remains to see how the centre will react to the situation, with all parties still awaiting Roy's side of the story.

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