Table Tennis: Manika Batra alleges national coach Roy asked her to fix match in Olympic qualifiers

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Responding
to
Table
Tennis
Federation
of
India’s
show-cause
notice,
Manika
strongly
denied
that
she
brought
disrepute
to
the
game
by
refusing
Roy’s
help.

According
to
TTFI
sources,
the
world
number
56
stated
she
would
not
have
been
able
to
focus
on
her
match
if
someone
who
asked
to
her
indulge
in
match-fixing
months
earlier
was
sitting
by
her
side.

“Besides
the
need
to
avoid
disturbance
due
to
his
last-minute
intervention,
there
was
an
additional
and
much
more
serious
reason
behind
my
preference
to
play
without
the
national
coach,”
the
Khel
Ratna
awardee
alleged
in
her
response
to
TTFI
secretary
Arun
Banerjee.

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“The
national
coach
had
pressurised
me
during
the
qualification
tournament
in
Doha
in
March
2021
to
concede
my
match
to
his
student
to
enable
her
to
qualify
for
Olympics

in
short-
to
indulge
in
match-fixing,”
she
said.

Despite
repeated
attempts,
Roy
was
not
available
for
a
response
to
the
allegations.
The
player-turned
coach
has
also
not
been
asked
to
join
the
ongoing
national
camp
and
has
been
told
by
TTFI
to
present
his
side
of
the
story.

“The
allegations
are
against
Roy.
Let
him
respond
and
then
we
will
decide
the
future
course
of
action,”
said
Banerjee
when
asked
about
Manika’s
response
to
the
showcause
notice.
Roy
is
a
former
Commonwealth
Games
gold-medallist
in
the
team
event
and
also
an
Arjuna
awardee.

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Both
Manika
and
Sutirtha
Mukherjee,
who
train
in
Roy’s
academy,
ended
up
qualifying
for
the
Tokyo
Olympics.
Manika
qualified
on
her
higher
world
ranking
after
losing
to
Sutirtha,
who
secured
the
Olympic
quota
from
the
event
held
in
Doha.

“I
have
evidence
of
this
incident
and
I
am
ready
to
present
it
to
the
competent
authorities
at
the
appropriate
time.
For
asking
me
to
concede
the
match,
the
national
coach
personally
et
me
in
my
hotel
room
and
talked
to
me
for
nearly
20
minutes,”
said
Manika.

“He
tried
to
promote
his
own
student
using
unethical
means
under
the
pretext
of
national
interest.
He
was
accompanied
by
his
student
who
trains
in
the
private
academy
not
only
run
by,
but
also
named
after
him.

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“From
my
side,
I
did
not
promise
to
oblige
him
and
promptly
reported
this
matter
to
a
TTFI
official.
I
decided
not
to
obey
the
unethical
command
of
the
national
coach.
But
his
intimidation
and
pressure
had
its
effect
on
my
mental
frame
and
consequently
my
performance.

“During
the
Olympics,
I
wanted
to
keep
away
from
the
demoralising
effect
of
such
a
coach.
Because,
as
a
player
representing
India,
it
was
my
duty
to
serve
my
country
in
the
best
possible
way.”

Manika
made
history
by
reaching
the
third
round
while
Sutirtha
also
did
well
to
reach
the
second
round.
TTFI
had
called
Manika’s
refusal
to
take
Roy’s
advice
as
an
act
of
indiscipline
and
showcaused
her.

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“I
strongly
deny
the
charge
therein
that
I
brought
disrepute
to
TTFI,
Government
of
India
and
the
country
and
undermined
the
appointment
of
the
national
coach
by
playing
my
singles
matches
in
the
Tokyo
Olympics
without
the
presence
of
the
national
coach
in
the
field
of
play.

“In
fact
and
on
the
contrary,
I
have
served
my
country
and
TTFI
in
the
best
possible
way
by
playing
my
matches
alone,”
she
wrote.
Manika
also
questioned
TTFI
for
not
taking
action
against
Roy.

“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’.

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“Unfortunately,
when
I
raised
the
issue
of
the
match-fixing
pressure
tactics
by
the
national
coach
again
in
my
e-mail
dated
14’th
August
2021,
TTFI
refuted
this
issue
outright
without
even
a
preliminary,
impartial
and
transparent
inquiry.

“Finally,
to
reiterate
and
summarise,
I
have
done
nothing
wrong
in
playing
my
matches
alone,” she
asserted.

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