The player will represent India at the Tokyo Games later this year.
Sharath Kamal has successfully managed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The table-tennis player secured victory over Pakistan’s Rameez Muhammad in the Asian Qualifiers on Thursday. The Asian leg of qualifiers are taking place in Doha, where the Indian managed to secure his fourth Olympic qualification.
He has previously represented the country at the Olympics in Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016. The Chennai-born player secured an easy victory over Rameez by 11-4, 11-1, 11-5, 11-4. The game merely lasted 23 minutes.
Sharath Kamal had earlier lost a game against compatriot Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, which made this match a must-win contest. He got the Olympics ticket on the basis of superior ranking. Sathiyan is also close to qualifying for the Tokyo Games. He will also face Rameez later on Thursday.
On Olympic qualification
“Very happy to have qualified for my 4th Olympic Games, in men’s singles. Focused now on the mixed doubles qualification which is still underway here in Doha.” Sharath tweeted after the confirmation of his qualification.
Speaking to TOI after the game, he seemed elated and expressed, “This feels special and I am feeling at my fittest best at 38.”
“They work hard and motivate me to give my best as well,” he said while referring to younger players like Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai.
The 38-year-old has had a long illustrious career in table tennis. He holds the record for winning the senior national championships a total of nine times. He has also been conferred the Padma Shri award for his contribution to the sport. This will probably be the last chance for Sharath Kamal to deliver an Olympic medal in table tennis for India.
Players in the Asian qualification meet have been divided into five groups based on their geographical regions. The toppers of each group from South Asia, Central Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia will qualify for the Games.
The matches taking place in Doha do not have Western Asian players competing since they have qualified for the Olympics. Five group toppers automatically make the cut for the Olympics. The sixth place available will be for the highest ranked player in the remaining lot.