Wanted to keep a promise, says an emotional Sharath
Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal came back strongly after a shocking 3-4 singles semi-final loss and the lanky Indian says it was a promise that inspired him to shrugg off the disappointment to claim the men's doubles table tennis gold for the country in the Commonwealth Games, today.other Updated: Oct 13, 2010 21:37 IST
Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal came back strongly after a shocking 3-4 singles semi-final loss and the lanky Indian says it was a promise that inspired him to shrugg off the disappointment to claim the men's doubles table tennis gold for the country in the Commonwealth Games, on Wednesday.
"Basically, it was a promise I wanted to keep. The promise was between me and team coach Bhawani Mukherjee that we would play the national anthem at the hall today. I am so happy to keep my words," an emotional Sharath said at the post match press conference.
The world number 40 went down fighting to Singaporean Yang Zi in the final-four stage of men's singles, but then recovered from the shock fast and paired up with former national champion Subhajit Saha to claim the doubles gold, beating Yang and Gao Ning 3-2 in a keenly contested summit clash.
"My wife also inspired me before the doubles match. She came and called me 'champion' and that boosted my confidence all over again," said Sharath, who broke down crying on the podium when the hosts' national anthem was played at the hall.
"My chest swelled with pride when the national anthem was being played. The country has given us so much support -- the people, coaches, family, federation and the officials. I am happy to give them the honour in return," said Sharath, who along with Saha, clad in the Tricolour, posed for photograph at the end of the match.
"Generally, I am not an emotional person. But today, after listening to the national anthem, I could not hold myself," he added.
Sharath also praised Saha for his support on the run-up to as well as during the summit-clash.
"He also supported me very well, he is playing amazingly well after coming from an injury lay-off. Today we had to prove ourselves in the final," he said.
Saha also admitted that they were under some pressure during the final, specially before a packed stand at Yamuna Sports Complex.
"We were under pressure. But then, my partner showed the strength and we never spoke about the singles loss," he said.
"Now our target is to do better in Asian Games in China next month. It would be another tough competition there," Saha added.
SAI chief coach for table tennis, Mukherjee said, "We wanted at least one gold and I am happy that they have kept their promise."
India's foreign coach, Massimo Constantini was quite happy with the overall performance of the Indians.
"I have been saying that we can expect anything between three and five medals in the Commonwealth Games. Now we have got four medals and even the fifth can come tomorrow," the Italian said.
"In the Delhi Games, our performance is only second to Singapore. So I think, we should take that," the coach said.