In a strange move, sports psychologist Gayatri Vartak has not been named in the table tennis contingent for CWG 2022; a move which has not gone down well with the players. Sharath Kamal, Sreeja Akula, and Reeth Rishya, who are part of the squad, said that her presence would have made a difference.
"The 33% rule has made it difficult to have all the support we need. For me personally, the mental coach could be of great help - given the pressure and the expectations of the Games. Had approached SAI with a request but could not find a place for more support staff," Kamal, who will be featuring in his fifth CWG, told PTI.
As per the guidelines, up to 33 percent of the athletes count could make up the support staff. But this rule too has not been followed judiciously. For eight players, six members will be traveling to Birmingham as part of the support staff. This includes two national coaches S Raman and Anindita Chakraborty, Manika Batra's personal coach Chris Adrian Pfeiffer, masseur Harmeet Kaur, physio Vikash Singh, and team manager S D Mudgil.
Meanwhile, Vartak had worked with the Indian team at the national camp in Bengaluru in May. "I have been working personally with Gayatri for the last eight months and it has helped me a lot. She was also there when I won my maiden national title. In a big event like CWG, a mental coach can only be beneficial," said Sreeja.
"Having a mental trainer with you helps a lot in pressure situations which we are expected to face at the Commonwealth Games. I hope there is still a way and we can take her to Birmingham."