Amalraj: India has a chance to win medals at Asiad

Amalraj’s focus is also on improving his world ranking.

The 32-year-old from Chennai feels if an opportunity comes his way he will deliver his best for the country.   -  Siva Saravanan

After a strong showing in the Commonwealth Games, Indian paddler Anthony Amalraj believes the team has a good chance to win some medals at the Jakarta Asian Games.

“We will be training in China for about ten days before heading for the Games,” Amalraj told Sportstar on Thursday.

Though he may not get a chance to play at the Games as there are other highly-ranked players in the team, the 32-year-old from Chennai feels if an opportunity comes his way he will deliver his best for the country.

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Amalraj’s focus is also on improving his world ranking. “It has been an up and down situation for me in the table. I want to crack into the top-70 by this year end and then maintain it.”

He has been in a similar ‘up and down’ situation in life as well.

“That’s because I had walked the most part of my journey alone. I joined a club as when at 10 and managed things alone for several years. It was a big struggle and it reflected on my game as well.”

But a training stint with Sandeep Gupta in Delhi has helped him in some way. “It’s an academy with lots of facilities and good players to train with. Thanks to that, I am playing a lot better now,” says Amalraj.

“I am not alone any more. He travels with me and has worked a bit on my game as well. I had problems with my backhand and receiving but now I am playing a lot better.”

He says Sandeep has got a strong mind. “He made something great out of Manika Batra [India’s top woman paddler] and is working on the others as well. Also in his academy, it is just him and the players and there’s no connection to the outside world.”

Certainly, a tough task for the players.

“But that’s how it must be and I prefer this place as I have someone around always with me,” says Amalraj, who promises to end the year on a high.