The player challenges Table Tennis Federation’s mandatory attendance at camp
The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Centre to express its stand on a plea by Manika Batra, who was left out of the Indian contingent for the coming Asian Table Tennis Championships in Doha, challenging the Table Tennis Federation of India’s (TTFI) mandate of compulsory attendance at the National Coaching Camp to be selected.
Ms. Batra, in her plea, also alleged that on one occasion, national coach Soumyadeep Roy “pressured” her to “throw away a match” to enable one of his personal trainees to qualify for the Olympics 2020.
The 26-year-old, who is the highest ranked Indian women player internationally, said she not only refused to comply with such an “unethical, illegal and immoral request,” but also immediately communicated this to the Adviser, TTFI.
The High Court said the allegations against the coach were serious and the Centre should be a little proactive. It posted the case for September 23.
Senior counsel Sachin Dutta, appearing for Ms. Batra, argued that by virtue of a rule on mandatorily attending the national camp, Ms. Batra’s chances for the 25th ITTF Asian Table Tennis Championships, 2021 had been scuttled despite her fulfilling all merit-based criteria. Counsel for the federation denied all allegations.
“After the conclusion of Olympics, the respondent no.1 [the TTFI] issued rules and regulations dated August 4, 2021 [received by the petitioner on August 27, 2021] informing her that attending of the National Coaching Camp is compulsory, failing which she would not be selected for any upcoming international event,” the plea said.
Ms. Batra stated that table tennis is an individual sport which requires specialised training with support staff. “Only the personal coach would know the strengths, weaknesses, skills and areas which a player should focus and strengthen. However, these rules do not permit any personal coach / support staff,” she argued.
The Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Khel Ratna awardee, in her plea, also highlighted that the TTFI was carrying out its selection processes in a “non-transparent manner” and targeting certain individuals such as herself. She also stated that the national coach, in a clear conflict of interest, was running a private table tennis academy simultaneously.
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