Twin gold medal-winner from the 2018 Commonwealth Games Manika Batra has split with long-time coach Sandeep Gupta.
It is learnt that the country’s top-ranked women table tennis player, winner of four medals at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, has decided to train with Pune-based Sanmay Paranjape.
Manika added a historic mixed doubles bronze medal in the company of Sharath Kamal in the 2018 Asian Games. Last year, she also received the Arjuna Award while Sandeep missed out on the Dronacharya Award. Manika also became the first Indian to receive the International Table Tennis Federation’s 2018 Breakthrough Star award.
Though Manika could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, Sandeep confirmed the development and said, “She told me she wanted to move on and train with a different coach. I wished her the very best, as always.”
Manika, who will turn 24 in June, took to table tennis as an eight-year-old. Sandeep remained her only coach all these years.
The last time Manika trained under Sandeep was at Budapest during the Hungarian Open in the third week of January. Earlier that month, Manika’s performance in the National championship was below expectations.
Understandably, Sandeep did not want to elaborate on the subject. The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) secretary M.P. Singh also chose to underplay the split. “I don’t want to comment on something personal between the coach and his trainee. The Federation has nothing to do with it. We wish them well.”