Inter-Institutional C'ship: Tough draw motivates Sharath

An 'open' draw at the Inter-Institutional Championship will, for a change, throw formidable challenges for Sharath Kamal in the domestic circuit.

"I know the draw should inspire me to give my best in the coming days," said seven-time national champion Sharath Kamal.   -  Getty Images

It has never been easy for Sharath Kamal to stay motivated ahead of a domestic competition unless it is for the National crown.

But in the next four days in the Inter-Institutional Championship, the seven-time national champion should find no dearth of motivation as the ‘open’ draw of the men singles has left him staring at a “really tough draw.”

Usually, for a top seed, testing matches are usually the semifinals or the final. “My half (of the draw) is really packed with a lot of action,” said Sharath, with a smile, while reflecting on his prospects in the singles.

“Facing Amalraj in the pre-quarterfinals
and should I win, it will be Soumyajit Ghosh. Can it get any tougher? Thereafter, it could well be Sanil Shetty or Harmeet Desai. I know the draw should inspire me to give my best in the coming days."

“But I have not played much after the conclusion of Ultimate Table Tennis league. Much will depend on how I feel by Saturday evening after the initial rounds. But yes, I don’t remember a tougher draw for me in a domestic event in a long time,” said Sharath, who arrived at the venue late in the evening in search of some practice ahead of the open events. He had given the team championship a miss.

Since this is the first event for the leading players who were part of the UTT, much is expected from them since they gained immense confidence after doing well against higher-ranked players.

G. Sathiyan remained unbeaten in the UTT league, while Ghosh, Desai and Shetty, too, will be confident after some fine performances. Same holds true for Madhurika Patkar and Manika Batra, who exceeded expectations in the just concluded league.

Meanwhile, after two days of league matches aimed at finding qualifiers for the main draw in singles, 106 men and 58 women booked their spots. They will be joined by eight seeded players in both sections.