Manjit Dua quits in protest as chief national coach of Table Tennis

Peeved at the “undemocratic ways” of the Committee of Administrators in running the TTFI, Manjit Dua has resigned as the Chief National coach.

Manjit Dua's resignation comes in the wake of the CoA’s decision to change the selection criteria. - SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA (FILE)

Peeved at the “undemocratic ways” of the High Court-appointed Committee of Administrators in running the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), Manjit Dua has resigned as the Chief National coach, a post he held since 2018.

The resignation comes in the wake of the CoA’s decision to change the selection criteria, which saw 26 of the 34 State associations express their objection, in writing to the CoA, that went ahead and appointed a new selection committee.

Though the new selection criteria is yet to be finalised, the CoA named Dua as one of the two observers in the new selection committee. “I was very hurt when I came to know that my role was reduced to an observer,” Dua told Sportstar and continued, “Also, inexplicable is the inclusion of another observer Anup Narang, a former badminton player and an ex-office-bearer of the Badminton Association of India. He has nothing to do with table tennis,” pointed out Dua.

In his resignation letter, dated April 21, Dua stated, “Today, I came to know that CoA has changed the Selection Committee of India and myself as an observer. The members taken in the new Selection Committee are lately not actively involved and connected with Table Tennis any more. In view of the above, I have to inform you that I would not like to remain on this Committee, therefore, I resign from the same with immediate effect.”

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Clarifying his decision, the 66-year-old said, “I have been part of the selection process for a long time and in the last two months, since the CoA took over, I was helping them in decisions related to the selection of players for overseas events. I have resigned not only as an Observer but also as the Chief National coach.”

‘Deserved better’

Dua, as the secretary of the Delhi Table Tennis Association, had written to the CoA opposing the proposed selection procedure. “Apparently, that did not go down well with the CoA. They hinted that I could be made an observer. But once they took the decision, I thought, I deserved better and resigned.”

Listing his objections to the CoA on the proposed selection norms, Dua stated, “First of all, it seems the proposed rules are being introduced only to support Manika Batra and G. Sathiyan.”

Sharath Kamal...“I don’t approve of the rules in their current form.” - AMAL JOHN (FILE)

 

He explained, “Even four-five days before the proposed rules were uploaded on the TTFI website, Sathiyan had shared it with the top players. If you ask only the top players, obviously you’ll get suggestions that benefit them. As I saw it as the National coach, the rules should be applied equally for the benefit of the players at various levels, and not just for a select few.

“The truth is, as per the existing TTFI selection rules, Sathiyan and Manika would not make the National team for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. Secondly, how could any new selection rule be applied straightaway? Why this rush? Even the ITTF, the world body, changed its ranking rules in 2017 but allowed players enough time to understand the process. If this procedure is applied, I see a long-term harm to Indian table tennis.”

‘Don’t approve of rules’

The country’s top player Sharath Kamal echoed similar views. He said, “I don’t approve of the rules in their current form. The appointed-committee needs to discuss the pros and cons of the new points system and consider the international and domestic performances for a couple of years. Thereafter, propose necessary changes before enforcing it. After all, these rules are framed by a few of our top players playing in international tournaments. We need to consider the views of all the stakeholders.”

Mr. Dhanraj Choudhary, the CEO of the suspended TTFI, vehemently opposed the manner in which the CoA was handling the issue of team selection. “Though almost every association has objected to the proposed changes in the selection process, the CoA appears ready to impose them. I am baffled at the CoA’s appointment of Sathiyan’s coach S. Raman as one of the managers of the Commonwealth Games team. A few months back, the Delhi High Court took a serious view of Soumyadeep Roy accompanying the Indian Olympic team to Tokyo. It observed that any player who runs a private Academy should not be named as an official with the National team. Ironically, the CoA has done the same with Raman, who runs an Academy in Chennai. Is the appointment of Raman by the CoA not in violation of the Court order?” asked Mr. Choudhary.

Even as the table tennis fraternity is divided over the proposed selection norms, all eyes are on the CoA. Besides doing the job for which it was appointed, the CoA will also be required to clear the current mess.

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