I know my duty, says national TT coach Soumyadeep Roy amid Manika Batra controversy

Roy feels the national coach can coordinate with the personal coach and work with the concerned player on the areas prescribed, if there are guidelines by the TTFI.

India national TT coach Soumyadeep Roy with paddler Sutirtha Mukherjee at the Tokyo Olympics.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) issued a show-cause notice to star paddler and Olympian Manika Batra after she highlighted national coach Soumyadeep Roy as "personal coach of Sutirtha Mukherjee" in a media interview.

Batra was not happy that her coach, Sanmay Paranjape, was not allowed to sit in the corner during her game against Austrian 10th seed Sofia Polcanova. And she preferred to play the singles matches without the national coach on the sidelines.

Roy, a former national champion in men's singles, who was at the Tokyo Games with Batra, Mukherjee and Co. is unperturbed. “Why she (Manika) said that is best known to her. I was given responsibility by the TTFI. I have been the national coach for the last four years, travelling with the team for Commonwealth Games, World Championships in Budapest with no foreign coaches. I know my duty,” Roy told Sportstar on Wednesday.

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He feels there can be an amicable solution to the misunderstandings, like how it happened in the Asian Olympic qualification tournament in Doha in March. “In the Olympic qualification, it was very clear that Manika’s personal coach [Sanmay Paranjape] will be allowed to sit for her match and I will sit for the mixed doubles (Sharath Kamal-Manika), and the singles matches of Sharath and Sathiyan. For me, it is better if I know my job. Whatever TTFI says, I will follow,” said Roy.

Manika Batra at the Tokyo Olympics.   -  PTI

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Roy holds nothing against personal coaches. “They have a huge role. There should be some guidelines. TTFI should take a call on it,” said the 37-year-old. 

“Suppose we go to CWG with 10 players, we can't have 10 personal coaches.”

Roy feels the national coach can coordinate with the personal coach and work with the concerned player on the areas prescribed, at national camps. He disagrees that those in the top 50 should only get the privilege to have a personal coach at major events. “What’s wrong if somebody who is ranked 70 or 80 [in the world] wants a personal coach. They can still be a medal prospect in CWG or for that matter those ranked in 120s. How do we justify it?” he said.

With the Asian table tennis championships scheduled in Doha from September 28 to October 5, the TTFI is likely to clear the confusion soon. 

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