Another scandal involving the Indian table tennis team has erupted in the midst of their Commonwealth Games campaign. India, the defending winners, were shocked by the Malaysian team in the quarters when some of the players weren't even listed in the world rankings due to the stark discrepancy.
Anindita Chakraborty, the Indian team's designated women's coach, was conspicuously absent from the knockout game. S Raman, the men's coach, sat courtside instead. "This should not have happened, women's coach should have been guiding the players in the match. I will take this up with the team" S D Mudgil, a representative of the Committee of Administrators in charge of the suspended Table Tennis Federation of India, stated.
In order to fulfil the players' desire for sports psychologist Gayatri Vartak, who joined the team on Monday, Mudgil, who was meant to serve as the Indian team manager in Birmingham, has remained in India.
Raman, who also happens to be G Sathiyan's personal coach, was spotted working with Reeth Rishya as the quarterfinal came down to the wire. The Manika Batra-led team did not even pause after the unexpected defeat for the media engagement, which is customary at all multi-sport competitions.
"It was very close. Combinations were totally different for us. A defensive player, a left-hander, and right-hander mix-up was a little challenging for us. The girls fought hard and it was an off day," said Raman after the unexpected result.
Malaysia has advanced to the championship match. Three Indian athletes have filed a court complaint before the Games protesting their exclusion from the CWG team. Diya Chitale, one of them, was successful and added to the team. There are problems at the camp, according to team insiders who spoke to PTI.
"The atmosphere in the team is the not best, let's just 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.
Star athlete Batra declined the assistance of then-team coach Soumyadeep Roy at the Tokyo Olympics last year after her personal coach was denied access to the playing area. The world number 41 is present this time with her own coach.
Manika will be trying to get back on track with doubles and singles yet to begin. In the previous competition, she had set a record by winning four medals, including two golds. For this feat, she was awarded the Khel Ratna, India's highest sports honor.