The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has decided to make it mandatory for all the top paddlers to attend national training camps in future and bar personal support staff of individual paddlers at the national camps.
“The TTFI Executive Committee felt the sanctity of the national camps should be maintained and the players should train together under national coaches going forward, so it will be compulsory for all the paddlers to attend national camps without their personal coaches or trainers or sparring partners,” said TTFI secretary Arun Banerjee.
The decision is in the aftermath of the pre-Olympic training camp which saw only two of India’s four Tokyo-bound paddlers attending for its entire duration.
While A. Sharath Kamal and Sutirtha Mukherjee trained along with other Indian paddlers in Sonepat ahead of leaving for Tokyo last month, Manika Batra attended the camp for three days in June along with her coach and trainer.
G. Sathiyan, meanwhile, preferred to train under his personal coach S. Raman in Chennai, without travelling to Sonepat at all.
According to Raman, also an Olympian, weighing everyone in the same scale cannot work for an individual sport like table tennis.
“Mandatory attendance at national camps works while creating a developmental structure but it cannot work for professionals in individual sport.
“For the top-ranked paddlers who are either playing overseas or are going through rigorous personal training programmes, it is unfair to make them attend national camps,” Raman told Sportstar on Thursday.
“A short team-bonding activity ahead of a multi-disciplinary or a team championship is fine but a thumb-rule can never work in Indian table tennis.”
Raman added that the uproar over personal coach travelling with paddlers — as it happened with Manika and her coach Sanmay Paranjape during the Olympic — is uncalled for.
“Personal coaches accompanying players in individual sport is not a new thing. It is in vogue for many years in other racquet sports. It only helps in bringing the best of each top-ranked player. For the rest, there could be a common coach.”