Newly-crowned National champion A. Amalraj is set to escape with a token fine of Rs. 1,000 and a ban for one domestic event after the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) took note of his written apology and reviewed its original decision to dock Rs. 52,250 for his “act of misbehaviour and bringing the game to disrepute” after his triumph at Lucknow on Sunday.
In a bizarre climax to the National table tennis championship, an emotionally-charged Amalraj climbed the table, ignored the yellow and card flashed by the chair-umpire, forgot all about shaking hands with dethroned champion Sharath Kamal, among others in the playing arena, and carried on with his wild celebration by running around the table.
Taking note of the violations, Competition Manager N. Ganeshan had written to the TTFI's Technical Committee recommending a fine of 25 per cent of Amalraj's Rs. 2.1 lakh prizemoney and a ban for one National ranking tournament next season. Acting on the recommendation, TTFI secretary-general Dhanraj Choudhary said on Sunday evening, “We have decided to dock 25 per cent of his winnings but decided not to ban his participation. You see, you cannot pass two sentences for one offence.”
However, late on Sunday night, Amalraj apologised in writing for his impromptu act. Thereafter, the TTFI agreed to impose only a token fine subject to the approval of the disciplinary committee.
“Since this was Amalraj's first such act, he apologised in writing and promised never to repeat the act, we reduced the fine. But we cannot ignore the yellow and red cards. Now the TTFI Disciplinary Committee will meet before the AGM in March for the final decision,” said Mr. Chaudhary.
Mr. Ganeshan said, “Any show of joy and emotion is fine, but decorum and discipline are sacrosanct. Such visuals sully the image of sport and project a wrong impression on those watching how the National table tennis events are conducted.”