Batra and six others were to fly on Sunday night to Melbourne by an Air India flight to participate in the ITTF World Tour Australian Open

CWG medalist Manika Batra travelling for TT Aus Open denied seat by Air IndiaTwitter/manikabatra_TT
news Controversy Monday, July 23, 2018 - 11:03

India’s table tennis contingent was left stranded at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on Sunday night after they were not allowed to board the Air India flight to Melbourne, Australia.

A total 17 players and officials of Indian table tennis team, including CWG medalist Manika Batra, were to fly on Sunday night to Melbourne by Air India flight AI 0308 to participate in the ITTF World Tour Australian Open which begins from Monday.

However, Manika took to Twitter to share that Air India had refused to board all members of the contingent and stated that they had seats for only 10 people, stranding the remaining seven players.

“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 wrote on Twitter. 

The contingent included table tennis players Sharath Kamal, Mouma Das, Madhurika Patkar, Harmeet Desai, Suthirta Mukherjee and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.  Manika Batra was among the seven players left behind.

The Director-General of Sports Authority of India, Neelam Kapur, took note of Manika’s tweet and stated that the matter will be looked into.

Air India later accommodated them into a 10.45 pm flight and Manika posted a photograph of herself with a boarding pass on Twitter, thanking Neelam Kapur for her help.   

“I would like to thank @NeelamKapur mam for the prompt action and getting our tickets booked for tonight. Finally got my boarding pass and flying soon. Thanks @Media_SAI @Ra_THORe sir @PMOIndia sir,” she tweeted.

When several users demanded to know why Air India denied them seats in the first place, Neelam stated that the team reached late.

“They were supposed to reach three hours before the flight but reached at 10.30 for the flight at 12.40,” she tweeted.

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