Amalraj awaits Arjuna Award

If there is a ‘Destiny’s Child’ in Indian table tennis, it is Anthony Amalraj.

Anthony Amalraj has proved himself consistently and returned with medals that have so far gone unnoticed.   -  M. Vedhan

If there is a ‘Destiny’s Child’ in Indian table tennis, it is Anthony Amalraj. Without any Godfather to guide him, Amalraj has patiently overcome all challenges in domestic competitions to go on to bring home international medals.

His persistence and consistency stands out when compared with his peers. However, when it comes to Arjuna Award, Amalraj has found his abilities short of impressing those who prepare the list of awardees, year after year.

Considering the standard of table tennis in the continent — where China, Japan, the two Koreas, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. are the nations with much broader player-base and superior training methods — Indians cannot be expected to make the podiums of the Asian Games or Asian Championships.

That leaves the Indians with the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Championships from where they can hope to return with medals in team and individual events. This is where Amalraj has proved himself consistently and returned with medals that have so far gone unnoticed.

Winner of the men’s doubles silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Amalraj holds the team silver and mixed doubles bronze from the 2010 edition.

In the Commonwealth Championships, Amalraj has a team gold, singles silver and men doubles bronze from the 2015 edition to go with the team silver from 2013.

In keeping with the norms for Arjuna Awardee, Amalraj has been consistent. Last year, when the 30-year-old was most hopeful of getting the coveted honour, the committee selecting the awardees were asked to consider those qualifying for the Olympic Games in Rio. This helped the case of Soumyajit Ghosh.

Asked about how he viewed his prospects ahead of the meeting to choose the awardees, Amalraj sounded low.

“I have done all that one is expected to do but I don’t know what more should I do to prove that I am a deserving candidate. My job is to keep performing. I believe in God and I hope my prayers will be answered.”

One hopes that the committee members give a closer look to Amalraj’s list of achievements and consider his consistent medal-winning performances for the country.

Anthony Amalraj FactFile

Age: 30 years.

Employers: ONGC

Designation: Senior Security Officer

International Achievements:

Chile Open 2017 – Men Singles silver medal; Men Doubles gold medal

Brazil Open 2017 – Men Singles silver medal.

Commonwealth Games 2014 – Men Doubles silver medal

Commonwealth Games 2010 – Men team bronze medal

Commonwealth Championship 2015 – Men team gold medal; Men Singles silver medal; Men Doubles bronze medal

Commonwealth Championship 2013 – Men team silver

Commonwealth Championship 2009 – Men team silver; Mixed Doubles bronze

SAF Games 2016 – Men team gold medal; Men Singles gold medal; Mixed Doubles old medal.

Lusofonia Games 2014 – Men team gold

National titles:

National champion in 2012 (Lucknow) and 2016 (Hyderabad) besides several Team Championship gold medals in National Team Championship.

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