Manika Batra famously alleged that in a Tokyo Olympic qualifying match, the national coach had asked her to “throw” the bout.
It was Justice Rekha Palli who heard Manika Batra’s petition that blamed the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) of carrying out its selection processes through a ‘non-transparent’ manner and even targeting specific individuals, like herself. Batra, who had been omitted from the Indian contingent for the Asian Table Tennis Championships, had alleged in her petition, that Soumyadeep Roy (national coach) had “pressurized” her to “throw away” an Olympic qualifier, in favour of one of his trainees.
Under the direction of The Delhi High Court, a three-member committee was constituted to look into the aforementioned allegation made by Batra. The committee will have two judges along with a sportsperson. Justice Palli has announced that she will even consider the possibility of appointing an administrator to run the national sports body, based on the report of the 3-member committee. The Delhi High Court has asked for an interim report to be furnished in four weeks.
Justice Palli had previously directed the Sports Ministry to hold an inquiry against the sports body but the Ministry had failed to take into account Batra’s complaint in its inquiry. Moreover, the TTFI would not write to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) regarding her, as of now. According to the court, in case the ITTF is in need of any information, the TTIF would transfer their query to the 3-member committee.
India’s top-ranked Table Tennis player, Manika Batra, had told the court that she was being targeted by the national federation for having raised her grievances in court. She also said that the international federation is treating her like an accused right now. In her petition Batra had sought to quash the TTFI’s rules that make it compulsory to attend the National Coaching Camp for selection in international events. The petition stated that Table Tennis is an individual sport, and it needs specialised training along with support staff. The rule against personal coaching is thus arbitrary, irrational, absurd, and it has no nexus with procuring excellence in an individualised sport.