Committee to probe Manika Batra's allegation against coach

by IANS |

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday decided to constitute a three-member committee to look into Table Tennis player Manika Batra's allegation of a match-fixing attempt by national coach Soumyadeep Roy.

A single-bench of Justice Rekha Palli expressed concern over the serious nature of the allegations, in which the country's top-ranked player contended that the national coach "pressurised" her to "throw away" an Olympic qualifier match in favour of one of his trainees.

The bench said that the committee will comprise two judges and one sportsperson, and details would be given in the order, adding an interim report in the matter from the committee will be sought in four weeks.

Batra had knocked the doors of the court seeking her inclusion at the Asian Table Tennis Championship, which was to be held at Doha from September 28, while also seeking the scrutiny of the conduct of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is not selecting her for the Asian Championships.

Pointing out the inquiry committee appointed by the Centre, the court said while it made observations concerning certain aspects of the sports body, it failed to consider Batra in its inquiry, remarking that nobody wants to stand by the sportspersons when they are in trouble.

The bench also said that for the time being, except for informing the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) about the withdrawal of all action against Batra, TTFI would not write to the international body regarding her.

The star player had also alleged that she has been a target of the TTFI just because she has come out against the apex body, and that she was being treated like an accused.

Rather than being able to focus on her matches and tournaments, she was being called by the international federation to provide evidence, she had said.

The judge said that based on the committee's report, the court would consider the issue of appointing an administrator to run the national sports body.

On September 23, the Delhi High Court had put an interim stay on TTFI's rules that made it compulsory for players to attend a national camp for selection in international events.

Batra had made history at the Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first player from the country to reach the third round at the Games before losing to Austria's Sofia Polcanova.

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