HC asks Center to investigate allegations against table tennis organization by Manika Batra-Sports News, Firstpost


Judge Rekha Palli further said that, if warranted, the Union Sports Ministry could also look into TTFI cases.

File image of Manika Batra. PA

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday suspended the Indian Table Tennis Federation’s mandate over mandatory attendance at the national training camp to be selected for any upcoming international events and asked the Center to investigate the Manika Batra’s complaint against the sports organization.

Judge Rekha Palli further said that if warranted, the Union Sports Ministry could also look into TTFI cases.

Judge Palli heard a plea from Batra who was excluded from the Indian contingent for the upcoming Asian Table Tennis Championships and alleged that national coach Soumyadeep Roy had urged her to reject an Olympic qualifying match in favor of the one of his personal trainees.

The judge said the rule requiring mandatory attendance at the national camp was applied at a time when a complaint was pending against the national coach and that does not inspire confidence.

The court also expressed anguish over how a committee, formed by the federation to examine the allegations, was reconstituted after asking the center’s position on the matter.

They go past the courtyard. I will issue a notice of contempt. I place an order and you name a new person. It’s shocking … I express my anguish, said the judge.

I am of the opinion that the application of the rule is required for the stay until the next hearing date.

Responding no. 2 (Ministry of Sports) … is itself inclined to investigate the applicant’s serious allegations. There is no reason for Respondent # 1 (Federation) to continue with her rule, she ordered.

Respondent # 2 will investigate as soon as possible … provide a copy of the report to the court, it was added.

The court clarified that at this point it was not appointing a committee to consider the issues and ordered that the Centre’s investigation report be submitted to it within four weeks.

He added that the center could apply for the position of the national coach and also published a notice on the petition, which was listed for a rehearing on October 28.

Senior lawyer Sachin Dutta, representing Batra, said his client is unwilling to compete in the upcoming Asian Table Tennis Championships.

Some (tournaments) start from October 24 and the world championship takes place in November. The event (Asian Table Tennis Championship) takes place next week and training takes place in Pune, he said.

Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, representing the Center, said the federation’s rule on compulsory participation in the national camp was against the sports code and was against merit.

He informed that the center would open an investigation into the athlete’s allegation.

Attorney Hrishikesh Baruah, representing TTFI, defended the rule and said such a mandate was also present in other sports, including weightlifting and judo.

The lawyer clarified that his client had no say in granting access to a venue to Batra’s personal trainer and physiotherapist during a sporting event.

He argued that the federation had no problem conducting a fair investigation into Batra’s allegations and that the national coach was not even present at the national camp which she refused to attend.

Maybe I’ll agree with you (at a later stage). Today, overall, I am not with you, the court said.

In the petition, Commonwealth Games gold medalist and winner of the Khel Ratna Prize alleged that the federation was conducting its selection processes in a non-transparent manner, targeting certain people like her.

She claimed that the national coach, in a clear conflict of interest, simultaneously ran a private table tennis academy and that on one occasion he pressured the petitioner to cancel a match only in the aim to help one of his trainees in his private academy. to qualify for the Olympic Games, 2020.

This incident occurred on March 17, 2021 as part of the match to be held on March 18, 2021 during the 2021 Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament organized by ATTU. Not only did the petitioner refuse to comply with such an unethical, illegal and immoral request, but she also immediately communicated it to the TTFI advisor on 18.03.2021, the plea says.

“After the conclusion of the Olympic Games, Respondent No. 1 (federation) published rules and regulations dated 04.08.2021 (received by the petitioner on 08.27.2021) informing her that participation in the national coaches camp is mandatory, otherwise it would not be selected for any upcoming international event, ”he further indicates.

The advocacy states that table tennis is an individual sport, which requires specialized training with supportive staff and therefore the rule against personal coaching is arbitrary, irrational, absurd and has no connection with the achievement of excellence in an individualized sport.

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