Millennium Post

Olympics only a year away but India's foreign coach yet to join team

New Delhi: The Tokyo Olympics is only a year away but Indian table tennis' new foreign coach Dejan Papic is yet to join the national team, affecting the paddlers' preparation for the showpiece.

In March, the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) had roped in Papic as chief coach in place of the long-serving Massimo Costantini, who quit last year citing personal reasons.

Under Costantini, India had made rapid strides with historic performances at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Jakarta Asian Games, where the country ended a 60-year-wait for a table tennis medal.

But now the players are left to fend for themselves.

"Massimo (Costantini) had to go for some family issues and after that a coach was finalised but we don't know when he will be joining. Without a coach it is difficult to prepare for the Olympics," said India's premier paddler A Sharath Kamal during an interaction here.

Papic had interacted with the senior Indian players during the World individual championships in Budapest.

He was expected to join the team this month with the ongoing Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships in Cuttack supposed to be his first assignment at home. "You see the results, it is just me, G Sathiyan and Manika (Batra) is doing well. We are training on our own and taking care of our singles training but for doubles we need specialised coaching," Sharath said.

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