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Tokyo Olympics: Manika Batra demands venue access for personal coach | Tokyo Olympics News – Times of India

July 21, 2021

NEW DELHI: Three days ahead of her competition at the Olympics, India’s top-ranked female table tennis player, Manika Batra, has put the country’s contingent officials at the Athletes Village in Tokyo in a spot.
Manika, the Gold Coast CWG gold medallist, has put forth an unusual demand that her personal coach Sanmay Paranjape’s ‘P’ (personal) category Games accreditation be upgraded to allow him ‘venue access’ for Field of Play (FOP) during her matches in the women’s singles and mixed doubles events.
Sanmay’s current accreditation doesn’t allow him venue access and the Pune-based coach can only visit Manika during her pre-Games training sessions. Travelling as an ‘extra official’, it was clearly indicated and known to both Manika and her coach that his selection for Tokyo has been done in the ‘P’ category. Only those with ‘P-TAP’ (Personal – Training Assist Programme) accreditation can access the venue, besides visiting the athletes’ training halls. All extra officials have been residing in hotels arranged by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) at its own cost.
Confirming the development, India’s chef-de-mission B P Baishya, told TOI from Tokyo: “Yes, Manika has raised this demand to allow Sanmay access to the Games venue. I, as a chef-de-mission, can’t do anything on my own as the official list had come from the national Olympic committee (IOA). This issue has to be facilitated between the IOA and the Games organising committee (OC).”
It’s been learned that the NOC has already taken up the matter with the organisers and the contingent officials in Tokyo are facilitating the process to get him the FOP access for her games. Sources have informed that Sanmay’s accreditation card could be upgraded by Wednesday morning. To avoid favouritism charge, the officials would also be requesting for upgradation of ‘P’ category accreditation card of three personal coaches in athletics and one each in golf and swimming.
Sources said that Manika has apparently told the officials in the Village that she’s a good chance of finishing on the podium and that Sanmay’s absence could cost her a medal. For the record, world No. 63 Manika is seeded 61st in the women’s singles event in Tokyo and will have to stave off tough challenge from Rio Games bronze medallist Mima Ito (Japan), reigning world No.1 Chen Meng (China) and Adriana Diaz (Puerto Rico), among others, to advance. Her only outside chance for a medal is with Achanta Sharath Kamal in the mixed doubles.
It’s been also learned that an indiscretion on Sanmay’s part could have possibly resulted in a bubble breach. After Manika’s training session on Monday, he couldn’t find the transportation back to his hotel. He accompanied Manika right up to the Village where he was stopped since he wasn’t an authorised accreditation holder. The extra officials aren’t allowed to accompany athletes from training venues to the Village using the same transportation meant for them.
When Baishya and others came to know about it, they arranged transportation for Sanmay back to his hotel. “The coach was told that he shouldn’t have accompanied the athlete to the Village and should have arranged his own transport from the practice venue,” Baishya said.

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