Manika Batra and G Sathiyan had earlier spoken about not attending the camp.© Instagram
Indian table tennis contingent’s Olympic preparations got a 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 unavailability to attend the camp along with their coaches, preferring to continue training in Pune and Chennai respectively.
It was a major blow to India’s preparation for the July-August Olympic Games, where India had a chance to win a medal for the first time after winning the mixed doubles qualifying event. The preparations have anyway been far from ideal due to the COVID-19 related restrictions. The team also does not have a head coach since the 2018 Asian Games.
While Sathiyan’s availability remains uncertain for the camp starting June 20, Manika has informed TTFI that she will travel to Sonepat with her personal coach Sanmay Paranjpe.
“They have said yes to attend the camp keeping the nation first. We appreciate it. We have also got SAI approval for the camp.
TTFI advisor MP Singh told PTI, “Our best chances are in mixed doubles so preparation of Manika and Sharath becomes very important. I hope they will benefit a lot from the camp.
Besides Manika, Sharath and Sathiyan, Sutirtha Mukherjee has also qualified for the Olympics, making it India’s highest representation in the sport at the Summer Games.
From June 20 to July 5, around 16 people will be part of the camp, including 12 players and four support staff.
On arrival on June 17 they will all undergo an RT-PCR test and will undergo a rapid antigen test daily from the first day of the camp.
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