Commonwealth Games 2018: Sharath Kamal targets team gold in Table Tennis
Sharath Kamal won the men’s singles gold in 2006 Melbourne and led India to another in team competition. In 2010, he and Subhajit Saha won gold in men’s doubles as India bagged five medals.Updated: Mar 28, 2018 22:28 IST
Hindustan Timses, Mumbai
Achanta Sharath Kamal has been there, done that. When it comes to table tennis at the Commonwealth Games, the 36-year-old from Tamil Nadu has had a huge role to play in the three gold India have won since the sport made its debut at Manchester in 2002.
Sharath Kamal won the men’s singles gold in 2006 Melbourne and led India to another in team competition. In 2010, he and Subhajit Saha won gold in men’s doubles as India bagged five medals (1-1-3).
Having been a part of this roller-coaster ride in the Commonwealth Games, Sharath Kamal is confident India will do well in Gold Coast. “I would be disappointed if we don’t win the men’s team gold. We are a fantastic side… doing very well and we are confident,” he said on Wednesday.
“England is the number one seed, we would be No 2 and Singapore and Nigeria No 3 and 4. But Singapore and Nigeria have one (strong) player each and we should be able to handle them.
“England would be the main team, we haven’t beaten them at the Commonwealth Games even once, but we have beaten them in the World Championships. So, hopefully this time we will be able to break the jinx,” said Sharath Kamal, ranked 71st in the world, on the sidelines of the Ultimate Table Tennis Player Draft. He was picked by the Yodhas in the six-team league that will be played in Pune (June 14-19), Delhi (June 20-25) and Kolkata (June 26 to July 1).
Sharath Kamal felt that India should do well in men’s doubles (he and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan are among the favourites), men’s singles, women’s doubles and team.
The reason for Sharath’s optimism despite poor returns in 2014 (India won five medals in 2010 but got only one in Glasgow) is the recent performance of youngsters, which has resulted in six India men’s players in the top 100. “The probabilities are very high, we will be happy if we manage to do what we did in 2010 (win five medals),” Sharath added.
He said the reason for India’s recent success is the flow of funds, which was stopped soon after the 2010 CWG corruption scandal.
Sharath Kamal played down the impact of Soumyajit Ghosh’s suspension following the rape allegations. “The good thing is that all six of us have been training together (for many months). We always had one extra person to take care of injury. We have a good team. Of course, Ghosh is not there but we have moved ahead. The dent (absence of Ghosh) is not that big,” he said.
First Published: Mar 28, 2018 22:28 IST