Manika Batra alleges national coach asked her to fix match in Tokyo 2020 qualifiers

Manika Batra has accused Soumyadeep Roy for pressurizing her into conceding the Olympic qualification match to his personal ward (Sutirtha Mukherjee) in Doha in March.

Manika Batra

Manika Batra of India in action during a Tokyo 2020 game.   -  REUTERS

Denying the charges levelled against her by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) for refusing to let national coach Soumyadeep Roy advise her during her singles matches in Tokyo, ace paddler Manika Batra has alleged Roy of indulging in match-fixing and TTFI for inaction.

“I have been falsely charged with ‘bringing disrepute to the country by the sight of an empty chair of the coach’. But the truth is that the ‘empty chair’ was the result of the national coach’s pressure tactics for match fixing and TTFI’s inaction to act on my prompt reporting of that incident and not the result of my so called  ‘indiscipline',” Batra has written in her reply to the show-cause notice served by the TTFI.

“It is such pressure tactics, inaction and the consequent suboptimal performance of a player that would have actually brought disrepute to the country.” Manika’s five-page response, accessed by Sportstar, was sent to the TTFI on August 26, a day before the seven-day deadline the TTFI had set for her while issuing the notice on August 20. She has accused Roy for pressurizing her into conceding the Olympic qualification match to his personal ward (Sutirtha Mukherjee) in Doha in March.

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TTFI secretary general Arun Kumar Banerjee told Sportstar it has asked Roy for his response. “We have asked Roy to submit his reply to her allegations. The issue will be discussed at the next TTFI executive committee that will be convened at the earliest,” Banjerjee said.

Explaining the reasons behind eventually deciding to play singles alone, Manika has explained the events that led to her personal coach Sanmay Paranjape being deprived of competition area access in Tokyo.

“Contrary to false propaganda, it was not at all a show of disrespect or displeasure by me. I had to take that decision in the given situation because I did not wish to lose at a lower round buckling under unethical pressure; but to fight bravely for my beloved country to reach a higher round,” Manika adds in the reply.

“I have neither brought any disrepute to TTFI, Government of India, my country; nor have I undermined anyone's appointment. I am being unfairly targeted despite the fact that I have always worked hard, stuck to the ethos and ethics of sports, tried to give my best to my country and bring laurels to TTFI.”

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