Vintage Sharath Kamal aims for Olympic glory before calling it a day


By PTI

NEW DELHI: Aging like fine wine, Sharath Kamal is aiming for another shot at the Olympics, her confidence boosted by a strong showing at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games.

At 40, Sharath returned from Birmingham as the most decorated Indian athlete at the Games, with four medals.

Apart from a yellow metal in mixed doubles, Sharath also won singles gold after 16 years, the first after the 2006 Melbourne CWG.

Having played at the highest level for more than 20 years, Sharath is in no mood to retire just yet and is determined to give himself two more years in pursuit of an elusive Olympic medal.

“It’s great to get my personal best in CWG. My highest was three, this time I earned a fourth. Fitness is key, it’s something I was able to keep up with, follow me. I work hard to stay in shape,” Sharath told PTI.

“I always try to keep my body and my mind in shape, especially because young people’s reflexes are quick, and I just try to be up to it so I can compete with them,” he said.

After winning 13 CWG medals and two bronzes at the 2018 Asian Games, the lanky paddler wants to achieve Olympic success before drawing the curtains on an illustrious career.

“Always the hunger to win medals is there, I’m always looking to improve. I want to take two years at a time. So Paris could be a pivotal year where we can qualify for the team event and hopefully -the, win a medal,” Charath said.

“It’s a process, first we got to the CWG level, then we established ourselves at the Asian level as well, and then it’s the Olympics,” he added.

Sharath doesn’t want to compare his 2006 singles medal with Birmingham’s, and thinks the two have their own meanings.

“I had to wait a long time to get the gold back. I won a gold medal for the first time in 2006. I won bronze, silver in between and in a few events I won won gold, but the comparison is hard. This time (in 2006) I was young and there was no expectation on my part. But this time the expectations were there, and I’m glad I was able to repeat that feat,” he said.

The country’s most famous paddler believes the table tennis landscape in India has changed a lot over the years.

“The popularity of table tennis has grown in the country and I’m happy that we can inspire a generation of young people with our performances,” said Sharath, who began preparing for CWG Birmingham in January.

“It’s changed a lot, back then my rating was 130, and now it’s 38. I have a higher rated player than me in Sathiyan who is rated 36th. We’ve never had such better players classified.”

NEW DELHI: Aging like fine wine, Sharath Kamal is aiming for another shot at the Olympics, her confidence boosted by a strong showing at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games. At 40, Sharath returned from Birmingham as the most decorated Indian athlete at the Games, with four medals. Apart from a yellow metal in mixed doubles, Sharath also won singles gold after 16 years, the first after the 2006 Melbourne CWG. in the mood to retire and is determined to give himself two more years in the hunt for an elusive Olympic medal. “It’s great to get my personal best in CWG. My highest was three, this time I earned a fourth. Fitness is key, it’s something I was able to keep up with, follow me. I work hard to stay in shape,” Sharath told PTI. “I always try to keep my body and my mind in shape, especially because young people’s reflexes are quick, and I just try to be up to it so I can compete with them,” he said. After winning 13 CWG medals and two bronzes at the 2018 Asian Games, the lanky paddler wants to achieve Olympic success before drawing the curtains on an illustrious career. “Always the hunger to win medals is there, I’m always looking to improve. I want to take two years at a time. So Paris could be a pivotal year where we can qualify for the team event and hopefully -the, win a medal,” Charath said. “It’s a process, first we got to the CWG level, then we established ourselves at the Asian level as well, and then it’s the Olympics,” he added. Sharath doesn’t want to compare his 2006 singles medal with Birmingham’s, and thinks the two have their own meanings. “I had to wait a long time to get the gold back. I won a gold medal for the first time in 2006. I won bronze, silver in between and in a few events I won won gold, but the comparison is hard. This time (in 2006) I was young and there was no expectation on my part. But this time the expectations were there, and I’m glad I was able to repeat that feat,” he said. The country’s most famous paddler believes the table tennis landscape in India has changed a lot over the years. “The popularity of table tennis has grown in the country and I’m happy that we can inspire a generation of young people with our performances,” said Sharath, who began preparing for CWG Birmingham in January. “It’s changed a lot, back then my rating was 130, and now it’s 38. I have a higher rated player than me in Sathiyan who is rated 36th. We’ve never had such better players classified.”

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