Everything went according to script, says Sharath Kamal

Members of the triumphant Indian men’s table tennis team spoke on the victory at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Members of the Indian table tennis team pose with their Commonwealth Games gold medals after defeating Nigeria 3-0 in the final on Monday.   -  Getty Images

Sportstar, on Monday, spoke to the triumphant Indian men’s table tennis team on the victory at the XXI Commonwealth Games.

Sharath Kamal
In 2006, when we won the gold, we were the underdogs. Now, we were the top seeds and there was a lot of pressure. In a way, the draw also favoured us.

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I think if England had reached the final, it would have been tough. We planned well and everything went according to the script.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
The feeling is yet to sink in. It is a dream debut for me — an amazing feeling. Actually, we were preparing for England (in the final), and we were pleasantly surprised to see Nigeria. But we were not complacent.

Harmeet Desai and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran celebrate after winning the men's table tennis gold medal on Monday.   -  Getty Images

 

I think we got better with every match. Hopefully, we should add more medals in the kitty.

Anthony Amalraj
That the England team didn’t reach the final was a blessing in disguise. Also the fact that the Singapore team is weaker now, made our job that much easier. Beating Nigeria was a sweet revenge as we lost to them in the 2014 Glasgow Games in the bronze medal play-off. Had Aruna Quadri (World ranked 26) been there (he was reportedly sick), the final would have been tough.

Harmeet Desai
This is a special moment for me. The girls winning the gold made us motivated, the atmosphere was good. It all helped.

Massimo Costantini (head coach)
The team has matured well and is ready to go to the next level. Still, there is quite a bit of work to be done. It is a boost to the entire TT movement in India. I am receiving hundreds of messages from players, parents and State Associations. The main reason for the men's & women's teams doing well is that the Indian seniors have taken part in 16 Pro Tours in 2017, out of which they got to the podium in 12 competitions.

All the training camps, tournaments and the chemistry between players have made this happen. Sharath (Kamal) has been a true leader, and a humble student of the game. The team members have been inspired by his play and behaviour.

Soumyadeep Roy (assistant coach)
So far, it’s been a dream run. Men and women winning gold, I don’t know when it will happen next? We have trained hard in the camps, devised strategies. All that has borne fruit. We won in 2006 here (Melbourne), too. Australia has been lucky.