With the coronavirus threat looming large across the world, India’s paddler Sharath Kamal packed his bags to take part in the Oman Open a few days back, much against his wife’s wishes

“I literally had to fight with my wife to participate in the Oman table tennis Open,” he said.

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The 37-year-old enjoyed a memorable campaign as he bagged the singles title, his first in 10 years. His last ITTF Pro Tour title was the Egypt Open way back in July 2010.

“It feels great to win a title even if it is a Challenge Plus event after a long time. Winning a tournament has become tough nowadays. This is a good win before the Olympic qualifiers,” he said.


Sharath said he was at his best against Marcos Freitas, ranked 26th in the world, 12 places higher than the Indian. “It was one of my best games. My shots were landing right. Mainly I was more aggressive and my shots were sharper,” said the former Commonwealth Games champion.

According to Sharath, the Oman Open triumph will see him gain 800 points and his ranking could jump to 31 or 32 next month. “It’s a big jump considering the situation we are in,” he said.

Sharath said there are no tournaments for the next six weeks and there is no clarity as to when things will resume. “We don’t know whether to be in competition mode or practice mode. Peaking will be difficult,” he said.