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'It was bit hard to believe,' Sharath Kamal on being chosen as India's flag bearer for Paris Olympics

Published at :June 1, 2024 at 6:56 PM
Modified at :June 1, 2024 at 6:56 PM
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(Courtesy : @sushil/X)

Ajay Gandhar

Sharath Kamal will be heading to his fifth Summer Games at Paris.

Achanta Sharath Kamal, India’s table tennis icon, has expressed his dream of winning an Olympic medal at the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics. With a glittering career spanning over two decades, the 41-year-old has won numerous accolades, including medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, but an Olympic medal has remained elusive.

In a virtual call organized by the Table Tennis Federation of India, Indian Olympic Association, and Sports Authority of India on Friday, Sharath Kamal said, “I’ve secured gold medals in the Commonwealth Games and a bronze in the Asian Games. However, an Olympic medal remains absent from my collection.”

The appointment of India’s foreign coach Massimo Costantini has come at the right time, according to the 10-time National champion. “With Max Costantini, we will concentrate on team events, including doubles. We will experiment with different combinations for the crucial doubles tie. Max Costantini is the right person for the job.” Sharath said.

Having qualified for the team events in March, Sharath and his teammates have ample time to prepare mentally and physically for the Paris Olympics. “This is the first time I’ve had so much time to prepare for an Olympics. Previously, I had only a month or slightly more to prepare. For Paris, we had six weeks. I took down notes and had documents on my preparations for training in the previous Olympics,” the multiple CWG medallist revealed.

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Sharath Kamal has also been chosen as India’s flag bearer for the 2024 Paris Olympics, an honor that surprised and delighted him. Despite some criticism from the Tamil Nadu Athletics Association, who labeled him a ‘nondescript sportsman,’ Sharath believes the recognition is a confirmation of his hard work over the years.

“When it was announced first, it was a bit hard to believe because there are people like Neeraj Chopra who have won medals at the Olympics or who are expected to win. Beyond all of them, they thought about me,” Sharath said.

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