Indian table tennis star Manika Batra has decided to knock on Delhi High Court’s doors against the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) for excluding her from the Indian team for the Asian Championship, beginning on September 28 in Doha. The TTFI cited the reason that Manika had not attended the national TT camp and as a result was not eligible for selection.
The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing on Monday (September 20) and is listed before Justice Rekha Palli. Soumyadeep Roy, who was the India coach in the Tokyo Olympic Games and has been accused of asking Manika to ‘fix’ a match during the qualifiers earlier this year, has also been included as one of the respondents.
Following the Tokyo Olympics controversy, where the Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning paddler did not allow coach Roy to sit in her corner during her singles matches, the TTFI had made it compulsory for the players to attend national camps.
The Khel Ratna award winner had expressed her inability to attend the camp in Sonepat since she was busy practising with her personal coach in Pune. Manika, ranked 56th in the world, has been at loggerheads with the federation for the past couple of months. Her accusation of match fixing against Roy prompted TTFI to form a five-member inquiry panel.
Earlier this month, Manika had made a big allegation against her national coach Soumyadeep Roy, claiming that he asked her to throw a match during the Olympic qualifiers in March and that was the main reason she refused his help in the singles competition of the Tokyo Games.
Responding to the Table Tennis Federation of India’s (TTFI) show cause notice, Manika strongly denied that she brought disrepute to the game by refusing Roy’s help. According to TTFI sources, the world number 56 stated she would not have been able to focus on her match if someone who asked her to indulge in match-fixing months earlier was sitting by her side.
“Besides the need to avoid disturbance due to his last-minute intervention, there was an additional and much more serious reason behind my preference to play without the national coach,” the Khel Ratna awardee alleged in her response to TTFI secretary Arun Banerjee.
“The national coach had pressurised me during the qualification tournament in Doha in March 2021 to concede my match to his student to enable her to qualify for Olympics – in short – to indulge in match-fixing,” she said.