Star paddler Manika Batra agrees to attend national camp
Indian table tennis contingent's Olympic preparations got a much-needed boost on Friday when star paddler Manika Batra agreed to join the national camp in Sonepat to train with mixed doubles partner and veteran Sharath Kamal. Earlier, both Manika and G Sathiyan had expressed their unavailability to attend the camp, preferring to continue training in Pune and Chennai respectively with their coaches.
Team's preparation for Tokyo Games has been far from ideal
That was a big setback to India's build-up for the July-August Olympic Games where India have a medal chance, albeit a slight one, for the first time ever after winning the mixed doubles qualifying event. The preparation anyway has been far from ideal due to COVID-19 related restrictions. The team also doesn't have a head coach since the 2018 Asian Games.
Sathiyan's availability for the camp is still uncertain
While Sathiyan's availability for the camp, beginning June 20, remains uncertain, Manika has informed TTFI that she would be traveling to Sonepat with her personal coach Sanmay Paranjpe. "She has said yes to attending the camp, putting the country first. We appreciate that. We have also got SAI's approval for the camp," TTFI Advisor MP Singh told PTI.
This is India's biggest representation in the sport at Olympics
"Our best chance is in mixed doubles, so Manika and Sharath's preparation becomes very important. I hope they get a lot out of the camp," the TTFI advisor further said. Besides Manika, Sharath and Sathiyan, Sutirtha Mukherjee has also qualified for the Olympics, making it India's biggest representation in the sport at the Summer Games.
The entire team will undergo an RT-PCR test upon arrival
Around 16 people will be part of the camp from June 20-July 5, including 12 players and four support staff. They all will undergo an RT-PCR test upon arrival on June 17 and will undergo rapid antigen test daily from day one of the camp.