India's table tennis star Manika Batra refused advice from National coach Soumyadeep Roy during her first-round match at the Tokyo Olympics after her personal coach was not granted on-court access.
World No. 62 Manika defeated 94th-ranked Tin-Tin Ho of Britain 4-0 with no coach around during the match. That attracted a lot of attention on social media.
Her personal coach Sanmay Paranjape was controversially cleared to travel with her to Tokyo, but not allowed to stay at the Games Village with the national team. He is staying in a hotel and allowed access only for training sessions.
The 26-year-old player had wanted Paranajpe's accreditation to be upgraded so that he could be court-side during her matches, but team leader M P Singh, who is also a TTFI advisor and in Tokyo, said Manika's request for field-of-play access to her coach was denied by the organisers.
"After her request for on court access for her personal coach was denied, she refused to be coached by our National coach. I had to intervene in the matter but she also refused to take Roy's advice during the match," Singh said.
However, Roy was seen court-side when Sharath Kamal and Manika played their round of 16 match in the mixed doubles.
Roy is a member of the gold-winning men's team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and a long-time teammate to India's table tennis great Sharath.
Manika was not available for comment.
With the Games happening in COVID-times, there were more restrictions on the number of support staff allowed with the team than usual.
Paranjape, who is based in Pune, was cleared to travel to Tokyo but G Sathiyan's coach S Raman, who is an Olympian, was not.