Diya Chitale, who had moved the court over her exclusion from the table tennis national team that will compete at the Commonwealth Games this year, has been included in the squad now in place of Archana Kamath.
Kamath, who is ranked World No 4 in doubles and No 66 in singles (the second highest ranked Indian woman on the international charts) will now not be a part of the CWG team, even as a reserve.
The three-member Committee of Administrators who are looking after the affairs of the Table Tennis Federation of India had initially named a team with Chitale as the standby. They sent the list to the Sports Authority of India for approval.
SAI however declined to get involved. It quoted a letter issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in 2018 which claimed that team selections for major international events were to be made by the respective National Sports Federation.
“The Government or the Sports Authority of India therefore will not have direct involvement in the selection process, except to ensure that it is fair and transparent,” SAI had said in a statement.
Subsequently, the CoA, a few days after Chitale went to court, changed its stance and added the 19-year-old paddler to the squad.
“There is only one change. Diya comes in as the fourth player in place of Archana. Archana did not meet the criteria but we thought she is also a good prospect. But we were in a dilemma and that is why we went to SAI and sought its guidance,” CoA member SD Mudgil told Press Trust of India.
“The selectors in the end took the call to include Diya who has done well domestically as well as in international events. She would be playing doubles alongside Manika.”
Chitale had recently won the WTT Youth Contender Lima title in Peru.
The men’s standby player Manush Shah has also approached court seeking inclusion in the main team for the CWG. His case will be heard in court on June 10.
The selection of the team is based on domestic performances (50 percent), international performances (30 percent), and 20 percent is left to the discretion of the selectors. The CoA though is looking to change the formula to 40-40-20 from next season.
Meanwhile the CoA has appointed S Raman and Anindita Chakraborty as the national coaches for the men’s and women’s teams.
India’s TT squads for CWG (as of June 8, 2022)
Men: Achanta Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai, Sanil Shetty, Manush Shah (standby)
Women: Manika Batra, Diya Chitale, Reeth Rishya, Sreeja Akula, Swastika Ghosh (Standby)