With Sharath Kamal pulling out, Sathiyan targets top 16-finish at Worlds

Sharath Kamal has decided to pull out of the Worlds meet after a hectic Birmingham Commonwealth Games where he won four medals, including three gold and one silver medal for India.

Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in action against England’s Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford in the table tennis men’s doubles final at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, Sunday, August 7, 2022. 

Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in action against England’s Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford in the table tennis men’s doubles final at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, Sunday, August 7, 2022.  | Photo Credit: PTI

Sharath Kamal has decided to pull out of the Worlds meet after a hectic Birmingham Commonwealth Games where he won four medals, including three gold and one silver medal for India.

India’s star paddler Sharath Kamal said he was not match-fit for the World team table tennis championships to be held in Chengdu (China) from September 30 to October 9, especially after a hectic Birmingham Commonwealth Games where he won four medals including three gold and one silver medal for India.

“Preparations for the CWG has been an arduous path for my body, mind and my family too. I would like to balance out things at this stage of my life. Post the exceedingly excellent results at the CWG, I doubt if I could be in my best shape physically and mentally in preparation for the world championships and with those doubts I can’t lead a team into a major tournament where a lot of responsibility will be on our shoulders,” said the 40-year-old, who will not be playing in the Worlds for the first time since competing in the 2003 event in Paris, in a message to The Hindu on Thursday. “So, I thought it would be the best to skip the preparation and the tournament this time.”

But Sharath said the men’s team has the capability and fire-power to take on the best in the world.

“My teammates are very well experienced over many major championships on how to prepare and excel in them too. Sathiyan has the right confidence post-CWG and Harmeet (Desai) has shown what he is capable of enroute to winning the gold in the men’s team event,” he said.

While speaking to The Hindu, Sathiyan said it will be difficult to do a repeat of the 2018 edition (Halmstad, Sweden) when the men’s team finished 13th. “Without Sharath anna it will not be easy. Our primary objective will be to make it to the knock-outs (Stage II) from the Groups. A top 16-finish will be a great performance,” he said.

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