Tokyo Olympics 2021: Sathiyan, Manika Batra prefer individual training over national camp

G. Sathiyan and Manika Batra have opted out of a proposed training camp ahead of Tokyo Olympics.
G. Sathiyan and Manika Batra have opted out of a proposed training camp ahead of Tokyo Olympics.

The Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian table tennis contingent's troubled preparations could take another hit after G. Sathiyan and Manika Batra's potential absence at a proposed training camp in Sonepat.

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is planning to organize a camp for the contingent from June 20 to make up for the lost time in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics. The pandemic-induced travel restrictions have made it impossible for Indian paddlers to travel abroad to training camps.

Helpless, the four Tokyo Olympics-bound players - Sharath Kamal, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Sathiyan, and Manika - have resorted to individual training since their qualification in March.

Also Read: It’s one of the most priceless moments of my life: G Sathiyan on securing maiden Olympics berth

TTFI adviser MP Singh said the federation was waiting for approval from the Sports Authority of India (SAI), adding it would not force all players to attend the training camp.

"The preparations have not been ideal but you could not help it amid the pandemic. We are now awaiting SAI's approval for the 15-day camp. It should come in a day or two. I have been informed by the TTFI office that Manika wants to continue training in Pune with her coach. If more top players are not willing to come, then we will need to see if we should have the camp at all or not as we would want the entire team to train under one roof," Singh told PTI.

Also Read: Tokyo Olympics 2020: Does India stand a chance in table tennis?

"I am comfortable training in Chennai" - Tokyo Olympics-bound Sathiyan

Apart from Manika, Sathiyan also confirmed his unavailability for the training camp. He said he is comfortable training in his hometown Chennai with sparring partner Anirban Ghosh. Moreover, he admitted to being in the right mind-frame under personal coach S. Raman.

"My coach is here and I have a good sparring partner in Anirban Ghosh. Also, there is a risk in travelling at the moment. So, I would prefer to stay put and prepare for the Olympics. I am comfortable training in Chennai," Sathiyan said.

Unable to fly to Denmark for training due to delays in visa processing, Sharath will be keen to make the most of the training camp opportunity. However, Manika's absence in the camp will affect his mixed doubles preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.

The federation has been planning to organize a camp for 16 people including players and support staff members.

"A total of 12 players and four support staff will be part of the camp. The players have trained in DPS Sonepat earlier also so they are comfortable with the facility. Sharath is happy to come. Let's see about others," Singh said.
"The players will undergo RT-PCR tests upon arrival on 17 June and when the camp begins from 20 June, they will undergo a rapid antigen test daily," he continued.

Other players, including Archana Kamath, Sanil Shetty and Manav Thakkar, are also expected to attend the training camp.

Also Read: From morning till bedtime – A day in the life of Tokyo Olympics-bound Achanta Sharath Kamal

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Edited by Parimal
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