It was appropriate that Achanta Sharath Kamal played more than a bit part in what Souymajit Ghosh said was the best day of his fledgling table tennis career.
For years, Sharath Kamal had towered over the men’s game — at 73, he is still India’s highest ranked player and is the first Indian to win on the pro tour. At 19, Ghosh is 11 years junior, acknowledged Sharath Kamal’s mentoring role and said he is still feeling his way in the “sea” that the senior circuit is. But after Monday evening’s singles final of the 42nd All India Inter-Institutional Table Tennis Championships, Sharath Kamal was runners-up for the second successive edition. With Anthony Amalraj beating him to the national championship last January, this was the third major competition Sharath Kamal had lost in one year.
“I really wanted to win this as I didn’t want people to write me off,” said Sharath Kamal after losing 1-4 to give Ghosh his maiden inter-institutional title and second senior crown.Sharath Kamal opened a 6-1 lead in the first and third games and lost both. He had started the second game in front as well but after three games was staring at a straight-set defeat against a player who made comebacks seem like normal service. "I went to his (Ghosh’s) corner and asked ‘whether I am playing badly or is he playing unbelievably’. Everytime I led and everytime he would come back and win the game," said Sharath Kamal.