Indian table tennis team sufferred from another controversy in the middle of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 Birmingham campaign. India were thrashed by Malaysia, a side who’s every player of the team do not even feature in the world rankings. India looked good until they reached the quarterfinals but the defending champions faced a horror defeat against the Malaysian players.
The designated women’s coach of the Indian team, Anindita Chakraborty, was conspicuous by her absence in the knock out fixture. Instead, men’s coach S Raman sat on the courtside. Raman, who happens to be the personal coach of male player G Sathiyan, was seen coaching Reeth Rishya as the quarterfinal went down to the wire. (Manika Batra: India’s Table Tennis Queen at Commonwealth Games 2022, 5 UNIQUE facts about her – In Pics)
After the shocking loss, the Manika Batra-led squad did not even stop for the media interaction, which is a standard protocol in all multi-sporting events.
“It was very close. Combinations were totally different for us. A defensive player, a left hander and right hander mix up was little challenging for us. The girls fought hard and it was an off day,” said Raman after the unexpected result.
Table Tennis was introduced at CWG in 2002 – the Singapore women’s team had never lost in the 4 editions of the event till 2018
In 2018 though, Manika Batra took over – 1st leading India to the team- she also won in singles, and a and a in doubles/mixed-doubles pic.twitter.com/t0kdxnhgsE
— Aniket Mishra (@aniketmishra299) July 28, 2022
Malaysia have reached the gold medal clash. Ahead of the Games, three India players had approached court against their non selection in the CWG squad. One of them, Diya Chitale, got successful and was included in the team. Team sources confirmed to PTI that all is not well in the camp.
“The atmosphere in the team is the not best, let’s just say that. Women’s coach should have been sitting courtside since she knows more about the players. Don’t know why Raman decided to sit instead,” the source said.
At the Tokyo Olympics last year, star player Batra had refused to take the help of then team coach Soumyadeep Roy after her personal coach was not given access to field of play.
This time, the world number 41 is here with her personal coach. With doubles and singles yet to start, Manika will be aiming to bounce back. She had won a record four medals in the previous edition, including two golds, a performance that helped her win the Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honour. (With PTI inputs)