Indian table tennis player Diya Chitale, who has approached the Delhi High Court over her exclusion from the Commonwealth Games women’s team, was included on Tuesday at the expense of Archana Kamath. However, Manush Shah, who also filed a petition with the Delhi HC against his non-selection, remains a reserve player with no changes made to the men’s squad, which will be led by Sharath Kamal.
The Committee of Directors (CoA) that runs the suspended Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) last week announced an interim women’s team consisting of Manika Batra, Kamath, Sreeja Akula and Reeth Rishya, with 19-year-old Chitale as reservation.
The team was subject to clearance from the Sports Authority of India (SAI), but on Monday, the Ministry of Sport threw the ball back onto the CoA court, saying the squad selection was the responsibility of the national sports federation.
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The selection committee, chaired by CoA member SD Mudgil, met again on Monday following SAI’s response and finalized the team. Kamath, who was supposed to play doubles alongside Manika, was dropped from the roster and Swastika Ghosh was put on hold.
“There’s only one change. Diya comes in as the fourth player in place of Archana. Archana didn’t meet the criteria, but we think she’s also a good medal prospect (as she’s number 4 in the world). [in doubles] next to Manika). But we were in a dilemma and so we turned to SAI and sought their guidance. The selectors in the end accepted the call to include Diya, who also did well domestically and at international events as well. She will play doubles alongside Manika,” Mudgil told PTI.
Team selection takes into account performance in national (50 percent) and international (30 percent) tournaments, while the remaining 20 percent is at the discretion of the selectors. However, the CoA decided to change the ratio to 40-40-20 starting next season.
The CoA also finalized former players S Raman and Anindita Chakraborty as coaches of the men’s and women’s teams for the Birmingham Games. Raman happens to be G Sathiyan’s personal trainer and also runs a private gym, but the CoA said he will make a commitment from him to ensure there is no conflict of interest.
Men: Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai, Sanil Shetty, Manush Shah (wait).
Women: Manika Batra, Diya Chitale, Reeth Rishya, Sreeja Akula, Swastika Ghosh (wait).