Why Manika Batra refused the national coach's help at Tokyo Olympics?
- Manika Batra refused to listen to national coach Soumyadeep Roy during her opening round match
- World number 62 Manika won the game 4-0 against Britain's 94th-ranked Tin-Tin Ho
- Manika's personal coach was controversially authorised to accompany her to Tokyo
After her personal coach was denied on-court access, India's table tennis star Manika Batra refused to listen to national coach Soumyadeep Roy during her opening round match at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.
World number 62 Manika won the game 4-0 against Britain's 94th-ranked Tin-Tin Ho, but no one was in the coach's corner, which drew a lot of attention on social media. Sanmay Paranjape, Manika's personal coach, was controversially authorised to accompany her to Tokyo, although he is not permitted to remain at the Games Village with the national squad. He's staying at a hotel and only has access to the gym for training.
The 26-year-old had requested that Paranajpe's credentials be updated so that he could be courtside for her matches, but Manika's appeal for field-of-play access to her coach was refused by the organisers, according to team leader M P Singh, who is also a TTFI adviser and is in Tokyo.
"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.
Roy, on the other hand, was spotted courtside during Sharath Kamal and Manika's round of 16 mixed doubles match. Roy was a member of the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold-winning men's squad and has long been a teammate of India's table tennis legend Sharath.
Because the Games were held during COVID, there were less limitations on the amount of support workers who may accompany the squad than normal. G Sathiyan's coach, S Raman, an Olympian, was permitted to fly to Tokyo, but Paranjape, who is based in Pune, was not.