Sharath Kamal aims at Birmingham, not just Tokyo

After registering his first career victory over a top-10 ranked player in 2018, Sharath Kamal reached his career-best World ranking of 30 in January 19.

Sharath Kamal

Despite being less than three months shy of turning 38, Indian paddler Sharath Kamal is in no mood to hang up his boots.   -  ITTF

While the sports fraternity is still coming to terms with the deferment of Olympics by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Achanta Sharath Kamal, the torch-bearer of India’s table tennis movement, has taken it into his stride. In fact, the postponement has resulted in Sharath exuding confidence that he will be able to stretch his career till the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“After Rio, I had decided to take a call after two years, so after the CWG (in 2018), I thought I was in a good shape to keep going till the 2020 Olympic. Now that Tokyo has been postponed at least till July-August 2021 and there’s just nine months’ gap between Tokyo and Birmingham, I am looking forward to playing the 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Sharath said during a live chat with Sportstar on Instagram.

Despite being less than three months shy of turning 38, Sharath is in no mood to hang up his boots. In fact, he has been at his best, having recorded various firsts in the last two years. After registering his first career victory over a top-10 ranked player (Japan’s Koki Niwa) in 2018, Sharath reached his career-best World ranking of 30 in January 19.

READ | Kiren Rijiju promises 'grand' Ultimate Table Tennis post COVID-19

He then broke Kamlesh Mehta’s long-standing record of eight National championship titles with his ninth in Cuttack. He followed it up with his first ITTF tour title after a decade by winning the Oman Open. The title meant he overtook fellow Chennaiyin Sathiyan Gnanasekaran to retain the honour of being India’s highest-ranked paddler in the World, at No. 31.

Sharath explained the secret of his longevity and peaking with age. “With sports science having evolved and experts like Ramji Srinivasan (strength and conditioning coach) being around, I am in a much better shape to look after my body,” Sharath said.

“Besides, I have been careful in picking and choosing my tournaments ever since returning to India from Germany (where he was based for almost a decade due to his Bundesliga commitments) in 2016. All these have helped me spend much more time at home, have a calmer mind and actually live up to the adage of age being nothing but a number.”

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.