While the Indian contingent enjoyed a successful Tokyo 2020 Olympics campaign with their best-ever Summer Games return of seven medals - one gold, two silvers and four bronze - there was quite a lot of noise brewing in the background. Plenty of behind the scenes controversies engulfed India’s Olympic campaign and here’s a list of a few of those instances.
Manika Batra refuses to take help from national coach
Star shuttler Manika Batra refused to take advice from national coach Soumyadeep Roy during her women’s singles matches. The 26-year-old’s personal coach Sanmay Paranjape only had training session access and Manika’s request for the coach’s field-of-play access was denied by organizers at Tokyo. Manika beat Britain’s Tin-Tin Ho and Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska but lost to Sofia Polcanova of Austria in the third round. Roy was the only coach to travel with the four-member team to Tokyo.
MC Mary Kom’s controversial exit
Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom left the ring celebrating her win over Rio 2016 bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia of Colombia only to learn about her loss while going through social media. Mary lost her pre-quarterfinal match by a 2-3 split decision despite winning two of the three rounds. The legend also cried foul for being asked to change her vest just minutes before her bout. Mary and Lovlina Borgohain - the third Indian boxer to win an Olympic bronze - fought in a plain jersey without their or the country’s name on their vests.
Vinesh snubs official sponsor, refuses to train with compatriots
Top seed Vinesh Phogat refused to train with the rest of the team at the Games Village and refused to share rooms near fellow wrestlers. She did not wear the name of the official team kit sponsor at the Olympics and instead wore her personal sponsor Nike’s singlet. Vinesh, who lost 3-9 to Belarus' Vanesa Kaladzinskaya in the quarter-finals, trained with coach Woller Akos.
Deepak Punia’s foreign coach assaults referee
Russia’s Murad Gaidarov, Deepak Punia’s personal coach and 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medallist, physically assaulted the referee of the bout after Deepak lost the men's 86kg freestyle bronze medal match to San Marino's Myles Nazem Amine. Punia was leading 2-1 and ended up losing 2-4. The International Olympic Committee immediately canceled Murad’s accreditation, banning him for three years. However, the Wrestling Federation of India was let off with a warning after it terminated Murad’s contract.
Atanu Das says no permanent coaches
Atanu Das in a startling revelation blamed the lack of a permanent national coach or psychologist for the Indian archery contingent’s dismal performance at the Tokyo Olympics. He also questioned the Archery Association of India’s (AAI) planning while conducting events, citing selection trials just two days after the Olympics. Atanu lost to Japan’s Takaharu Furukawa in the pre-quarterfinals.
Manu Bhaker’s equipment malfunctions
Manu Bhaker finished 12th in the women’s 10m air pistol due to an equipment malfunction. The 19-year-old had a superb round of 98/100 in the opening series but a delay disturbed Manu’s rhythm. The Swiss gun manufacturing company Morini blamed Manu for the delay, claiming the issue could have been resolved faster had they been approached.
Featured photo: SAI Media