Manika Batra, India’s table tennis star & six other players were left stranded at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport after being denied boarding the Air India flight to Melbourne on Sunday.
The Indian contingent, comprising 17 players, is due to participate at the ITTF World Tour Australian Open scheduled to start from Monday. But only 10 players of the team could fly after they were told by Air India counter that the flight is overbooked.
Manika and Mouma Das are among the seven players that were left behind.
Commonwealth Games gold medalist Manika took to Twitter to share her ordeal and tagged Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Prime Minister’s Office to look into the matter.
“Our contingent of total 17 players & officials of Indian table tennis team including CWG medalist myself, Sharath Kamal, Mouma Das, Madhurika, Harmeet, Suthirta, Sathyan were supposed to fly today to Melbourne by AI 0308 to participate in ITTF World Tour Australian Open from tom,” she tweeted.
“Contd- On reaching Air India counter we were told dat flight is overbooked &only 10 members of TT team can fly which left us in a shock.7 of us are still unable to fly.All the tickets were booked by Balmer Lawrie.”
Contd- On reaching Air India counter we were told dat flight is overbooked &only 10 members of TT team can fly which left us in a shock.7 of us are still unable to fly.All the tickets were booked by Balmer Lawrie.@Ra_THORe @PMOIndia Shocked at such mismanagement by @airindiain
— Manika Batra (@manikabatra_TT) July 22, 2018
However, DG of Sports India Neelam Kapoor took note of the situation and wasted no time to reply Manika on the matter saying, “Will look into this immediately @Media_SAI @manikabatra_TT.”
— Neelam Kapur (@NeelamKapur) July 22, 2018
A report said, MP Singh, secretary general of the Table Tennis Federation of India, put the blame on Air India saying, “This is all Air India’s fault. The Sports Ministry did all it could to facilitate this tour. But for an unacceptable reason and irresponsibility of Air India, the players have suffered, their preparation has suffered. It’s a loss for the country.”
“Among the men, only Harmeet Desai was left behind, besides chief coach, Manika and Mouma are also among the seven that were denied boarding,” Singh said.>