The 38-year-old will give his 100 percent in the upcoming tournaments.
India’s highest-ranked Table Tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal expressed that he has hope of winning an Olympic medal at the Tokyo Games, especially in the Mixed Doubles category with Manika Batra.
“Back in 2004, I had a dream of winning an Olympic medal. 17 years later, I am sitting here with the hope it is actually doing to turn into a reality. The nation’s dream of winning a medal in Table Tennis can come true. Especially in Mixed Doubles where a medal is just three rounds away,” he said at a media interaction.
Sharath Kamal stated that his confidence was rooted in the 2018 Asian Games medal. He remarked, “The Asian Games bronze medal that Manika and I won in Jakarta leads me to believe that if we can do it in the Asian Games then we have a fair chance at the Tokyo Olympics. Asia is a powerhouse and the best teams are from the continent. So, when you medal in the Asian Games, you have that confidence that this is going to be the best Olympics in terms of performance and in terms of results.”
He spoke about his partnership with Manika Batra. The ace Indian paddler said they have had very good sessions in the recent weeks. They had worked on some aspects like footwork and coordination, where they complement one other.
On partnership with Manika Batra
He remarked, “We both do really well under pressure even as singles players. When a match gets close, we are both able to raise our levels a notch up. The second thing is we have different styles of playing. She is able to slow the game down fantastically well and I am able to speed it up from there. That is where the opponents also are not able to play comfortably against us. So that is how we are trying to build our game.”
“We have come a very long way since 2004. In 2008, I went to the Olympic Games with little competitive exposure. Once TOPS came into the picture, it became a lot easier and are able to concentrate on our training as all requirements have been taken care of.”
For this Olympic cycle, Sharath Kamal was inducted into Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in December 2018. He has been given financial support of close to Rs 50 lakh, with most of the finances being sanctioned towards the cost for international competitions, fee for support staff, expenditure for equipment and Out of Pocket Allowance (OPA).
On July 4, 2019, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS} had sanctioned a budget of Rs 12.13 crore to the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) under the Annual Calendar of Training and Competition (ACTC) until September 2020.