Manika Batra Accuses Indian National Coach of Match-Fixing

Indian Olympian Manika Batra (WR 56) has accused Indian National Coach Soumyadeep Roy of pressuring her to throw a match at the Olympic Qualifiers (in March) to his personal student. The allegations surfaced in Batra’s response to TTFI’s (India’s National Governing Body for table tennis) claim that Batra brought disrepute to Indian table tennis by refusing Roy as a coach at the Tokyo Olympics. Manika Batra responded in a written statement that she would not be able to focus on her match if someone who asked her to match-fix was sitting in the coach’s corner:

“Besides the need to avoid disturbance due to his last-minute intervention, there was an additional and much more serious reason behind my preference to play without the national coach.”

“The national coach had pressurised me during the qualification tournament in Doha in March 2021 to concede my match to his student to enable her to qualify for Olympics – in short- to indulge in match-fixing.” 

“I have evidence of this incident and I am ready to present it to the competent authorities at the appropriate time. For asking me to concede the match, the national coach personally met me in my hotel room and talked to me for nearly 20 minutes.” 

“He tried to promote his own student using unethical means under the pretext of national interest. He was accompanied by his student who trains in the private academy not only run by, but also named after him.

“From my side, I did not promise to oblige him and promptly reported this matter to a TTFI official. I decided not to obey the unethical command of the national coach. But his intimidation and pressure had its effect on my mental frame and consequently my performance.

“During the Olympics, I wanted to keep away from the demoralising effect of such a coach. Because, as a player representing India, it was my duty to serve my country in the best possible way.”

Indian media so far appears to have been unable to reach Soumyadeep Roy for comment. More details can be found in this Zeenews report.

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