Paddler E. Prabhakaran has sent a legal notice to the Tamizhaga Table Tennis Association (TTTA) protesting his non-inclusion in the State men’s team for the senior Nationals in Shillong from April 18 to 25 despite his good result - he finished in the top five - at the TTTA-State championships.
However, the TTTA has filed a caveat petition now. It has stated that it stands by its decision and has decided to proceed with the team it finalised in January.
Prabhakaran said the initial dates for the Shillong Nationals clashed with his training stint in Spain and hence had requested TTTA that his name be withdrawn. But, the Nationals had been postponed owing to the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and by March he was back in Chennai.
He had then, through his coach S. Jugo Roy, informed TTTA his willingness to be part of the team. However, TTTA turned down the request explaining that it had already conducted trials (for players ranked between 5 and 8) in January and could not make any change to the composition of the team.
Prabhakaran forwarded his grievance to the Committee of Administrators, which now supervises the affairs of Table Tennis Federation of India, but did not receive any response.
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Prabhakaran said he had returned to India in the third week of March and had informed TTTA general secretary J. Selvakumar about his availability. But he was told that on the basis of his earlier letter expressing inability to participate, his place had been filled following a selection trial and that any change would be unfair to the selected player.
Prabhakaran stated he had no objection to another player being given his place if he was unavailable. “But when I am very much available, why am I omitted? Besides, I am the senior-most player in the team. Moreover, I had given TTTA enough time. I mailed my availability much before the closure of entries. While the deadline was on April 4, I mailed TTTA on March 28. They should have asked me. TTTA’s decision is harsh, smacks of prejudice and is high-handed,” he said.
Selvakumar, meanwhile, reiterated his decision not to include Prabhakaran.
“When he informed us of his inability to be part of the State team for the Nationals as he was travelling to Spain, the Nationals were still not postponed. Hurriedly we had to organise a selection trial in which D. Vishwa won.
“Then Prabhakaran, a semifinalist at the State championships, mailed us ahead of the closure of entries, about his interest to be part of the team. We were clear that it was not possible as we had already selected the team by then. Our selection process is transparent,” he said.
The 30-year-old paddler, a former International, insists that he was wronged and his case be heard.