Table Tennis Federation of India looking to fill head coach’s position as Olympic Games postponement to 2021

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The Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 after talks between prime minister of japan, Shinzo Abe and president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, led to confirmation of a decision made inevitable by the coronavirus pandemic.

But the COVID 19 pandemic has given India’s table tennis squad more time to prepare and given the current scenario, governing body of Indian table tennis, TTFI is looking to fill the head coach’s position locally rather than hiring a foreign coach. Since the 2018 Asian Games, the head coach position of has been lying vacant due to multiple factors.

“We can only look at an Indian coach now. There is no activity happening at the moment but when things get better, I doubt a foreign coach would like to come here considering the global situation (due to coronavirus),” MP Singh general secretary of TTFI told PTI.

“Indian coaches anyway have been working with the men and women team over the past year. Most likely, we would stick with them.”

India’s top ranked paddler in men’s singles G Sathiyan (back) and Sharath Kamal (front)

More than a year, Former Indian national champions Soumyadeep Roy and Arup Basak have been working with men and women respectively. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is a lack of clarity over the Olympic qualification events. Now entire world sporting scene is under cloud.

The Table Tennis Federation roped in Dejan Papic from Canada as head coach last year in July. But he never joined the team as he underwent a knee surgery at the time when he was expected to join the squad.

Now, there is possibility, the Asian qualifier was supposed to take place next month but governing body International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has suspended all activity until the end of April.

“We are waiting for the ITTF for more details on the future. The Olympic qualifying events need to be rescheduled and maybe fresh rankings will have to be considered for qualification,” Singh added

Highest ranked men,s singles player of India, G Sathiyan, who is in line to qualify alongside experienced Sharath Kamal, said it is still too early to talk about the game.

“Decision could only be made after the world is able to contain the virus. Indian coach is an option but will have to discuss with TTFI and SAI when the time comes and take a call,” said Sathiyan. In women singles category, Manika Batra has the best chance of making the Olympics cut.

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