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CWG 2022: India in table tennis controversy after men's coach supervises women's tie

Indian women's table tennis team lost to Malaysia in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Meanwhile, the men's coach was in charge of the women's game, leading to a controversy.

Commonwealth Games, CWG 2022: India in table tennis controversy after men's coach put in charge during womens tie-ayh
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Birmingham, First Published Aug 1, 2022, 4:06 PM IST

The Indian table tennis team has wooed another controversy, while this time, it has appeared amidst its Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 crusade. India headed into the contest as the defending champion in the women's team event but was shocked by little-known Malaysia in the quarterfinals. The contrast was so huge between the two teams that some Malaysian players did not even feature in the world rankings. The designated Indian women's coach, Anindita Chakraborty, was apparent by her absence in the tie, while instead, the men's coach S Raman supervised the tie.

"This should not have happened, women's coach should have guided the players in the match. I will take this up with the team," said SD Mudgil, a Committee of Administrators (CoA) member running the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), which is currently suspended.

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Mudgil, considered the team manager of the Indian side in Birmingham, is staying back in India to accommodate sports psychologist Gayatri Vartak upon the players' request. At the same time, she joined the squad on Monday. Raman is the personal coach of G Sathiyan and was seen coaching Reeth Rishya as the quarterfinal clash went down to the wire.

After the shocking loss, the Manika Batra-led squad did not interact with the media, a routine protocol in all multi-sporting events. "It was very close. Combinations were different for us. A defensive player, a left-hander and a right-hander mix-up was a little challenging for us. The girls fought hard, and it was an off day," Raman explained following the defeat.

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Ahead of the CWG, three Indian players had approached the court against their non-selection in the CWG squad. One of them, Diya Chitale, was successful in the appeal and incorporated into the team. Team sources confirmed to PTI that everything is not right in the Indian TT camp.

"The atmosphere in the team is not the best, let's say that. The women's coach should have been sitting courtside since she knows more about the players. Don't know why Raman decided to sit instead," the source said. At the Tokyo Olympics last year, star paddler Batra refused to take the service of then-team head coach Soumyadeep Roy after her personal coach was not given access to the field of play.

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This time, world number 41, Batra, is in Birmingham with her personal coach. With doubles and singles yet to start, Manika aims to bounce back. She had won four medals in the previous edition, including two golds, a record. The performance enabled her to win the prestigious Khel Ratna award, India's highest sporting honour.

(With inputs from PTI)

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