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Photo : Mirabai Chanu – Twitter, Manika Batra – TTFI   

Mirabai Steals The Thunder At Tokyo, And A Petulant Manika Sulks

Tokyo 2020 Olympics  began with a bang for India when Manipur’s Mirabai Chanu, all of 4.11 “ in height, and 49 kg in weight, bagged the silver medal in the snatch and clean and jerk competition.. While the diminutive Mirabai has stolen the thunder from the rest of the athletes, even getting a cash reward of Rs 2 crore from Indian Railways, Manika Batra, a bright spark in the first few days of the Olympics, has ruffled the feathers of the table tennis fraternity by rejecting the national coach, Soumyadeep Roy, to guide her at onsite. The tall 26- year-old from Delhi, Manika who began her first lessons at Sandeep Gupta’s academy in Punjabi Bagh, relocated to Pune two years ago in order to be close to her personal coach Sanmay Paranjape. Manika, who was ranked World No 46 in March 2019, dropped to a low of 79 in September. It has been in the 60s since November 2019. She appeared to be petulant at being denied the opportunity to be coached and mentored from the court-side by Paranjape. He was in the stands though. After winning two matches, Manika was outplayed by Austria’s world no. 17, Sofia Polcanova in the third. The authorities believe that rules have to be adhered to, and nominating a personal coach for any competition, and not the national coach, would open the Pandora’ s Box for them.