Indian paddlers get more time to train but hopes of a foreign coach vanish

First TTFI failed to bring Canadian Dejan Papic due to a knee surgery and now Covid19 is bound to discourage anyone from coming here

New Delhi: The postponement of Tokyo Olympics has given India's table tennis squad more time to prepare, but given the current scenario (Covid19), the Table Tennis Federation of India (TFFI) is looking to fill the head coach's position locally rather than hiring a foreign coach.

The head coach position has been lying vacant since the 2018 Asian Games due to various reasons, one of them being TTFI's efforts to rope in Canadian Dejan Papic proving futile as he underwent a knee surgery when he was expected to join the squad.

"We can only look at an Indian coach now. Although there is no table tennis activity anywhere in the world, considering the current situation in the country it is doubtful any foreign coach would accept to come here," TTFI secretary general M P Singh told PTI.

The TTFI is likely to continue with the services of the Indian coaches who have been working with the men's and women's teams -- Soumyadeep Roy and Arup Basak respectively -- over the past one year.

It is to be seen when the Asian qualifier, scheduled for next month, will be rescheduled by the international body ITTF.

India's highest-ranked player G Sathiyan, who is in line to qualify alongside veteran Sharath Kamal, said it is still too early to talk about the game.

Among the women, Manika Batra has the best chance of making the Olympics cut.

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