India’s top-ranked women’s paddler Manika Batra has cleared the air regarding the absence of the national coach during her Tokyo Olympics matches. She stated that Soumyadip Roy had previously insisted her to indulge in match-fixing during the qualifiers, which was the reason for not taking his help.
Speculations were sky-high when Manika Batra played without the help of the national coach during her matches at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. While social media went viral with the paddler in action and an empty chair in the background, nothing conclusive surfaced by the end of the Tokyo Games.
Almost a month after the conclusion of the Games, the Indian star cleared the air regarding the matter, stating that she would not have focused on her matches in the presence of someone who had pressurized her to indulge in match-fixing during the qualifiers. National coach Soumyadip Roy had instructed Manika to concede a match in the qualifiers so that one of his students qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“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,” said Manika Batra.
“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,” added the Olympian.
Manika Batra won her first two matches and lost in the round-of-16 tie in the women’s singles event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Meanwhile, national coach Sounmyadip Roy has been asked to present his side of the story by TTFI (Table Tennis Federation of India).