Fully Prepared Table Tennis Champion Sharath Kamal plans to improve his record at CWG 2022 – The New Indian Express
Express press service
CHENNAI: World number 38 and current national table tennis champion A Sharath Kamal is keen to do well at the upcoming Commonwealth Games due to be held at the end of the month in England. He is keen to do better than he did last time and flew to Hungary to play a few tournaments as part of his preparations. Sharath is keen to retain the team gold and is trying to win singles and doubles gold medals with G Sathiyan. Speaking to this Budapest daily, Sharath says England are the team to beat and insists he has started preparing for games from December 2021. Excerpts…
Be part of the Indian contingent
The CWG is a very prestigious tournament after the Olympics where we play for the Indian team. Representing India in these multi-sport events has a different feel compared to a World Championship. It is a proud moment to represent the country at the CWG. My first CWG was in Melbourne in 2006 where I won 2 gold medals (1 singles and 1 team) and it’s always special for me.
It was the first time for India to win gold in the CWG and I still remember my singles finals when many players/officials from the Indian contingent came to cheer me on. Personally, it was the best CWG for me with 2 gold medals, but it’s very close to the CWGs in 2010 and 2018 where I got 3 medals each in both editions.
How do you imagine your chances this time?
This time we have a strong team where I hope to defend the gold medal (team event). In men’s doubles last time, partnered with G Sathiyan, we won silver and hopefully we can win gold this time. In singles I will be seeded 4 where I have a chance of winning another medal. In mixed doubles, I’m partnered with Sreeja Akula, with whom it will be a new partnership, and I hope to do our best.
How did the preparations go?
I started my preparation for this CWG in December 2021 and since then I have been doing well in the tournaments I have participated in. I made the semi-finals of a WTT tournament in Doha and followed that up by winning the Indian National Championships for a record 10th time. In January I was in Germany for three weeks and trained for the event. I am part of the best club in Europe called Borussia Düsseldorf which won the Champions League and the German championship this year. So it was a good outing. In February, I was in Qatar to train and play a few matches. Before the CWG, I will play two tournaments in Budapest and I hope to have good matches there.
With whom did you prepare for the English championship?
During the months of May and June, I trained in Chennai with my childhood coaches. Fellow Dronacharya Srinivasa Rao and Muralidhara Rao have guided me since I was a four year old boy and they continue to contribute to my success. I worked a lot on sharpening my strength which is my forehand and at the same time I was able to work on the stability of my backhand. I also added a few new elements to my serve and returns.
In the team to beat
England will be a solid team to beat and we are also ready, while Nigeria and Singapore are also good teams. But we should be able to beat them. Individually, Aruna Quadri, Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhaul and Sam Walker are good players and the ones to beat.