Ranchi: Poster boy of Indian table tennis, Achanta Sharath Kamal, is competing in the 34th National Games here not by chance but it was pre-planned -- for personal as well as reasons related to his sparkling international career.
That the National Games title is a missing feather from his cap is a big motivation for the Commonwealth Games gold medallist to be in much-delayed Games.
It was also pre-planned for him as the world no 40 , who trains in Germany, wanted to be with his wife who gave birth to a baby daughter on February 4.
“Two reasons were there to participate in the National Games. I had this Games in my mind since I’m yet to win a title here. Last time (Guwahati 2007) I was training in Europe and could not represent Tamil Nadu despite the best initiative by the sports council who even tried to give me incentives,” Sharath Kamal, who is competing in his third Games said.
“I’m taking part in all the events -- team, singles, doubles (with G Vinod) and mixed doubles (K Shamini),” said Sharath Kamal.
The ace paddler, who recently won his fifth straight and sixth overall National title in Kolkata, said his next target is the upcoming World Championship in Rotterdam from May 8-15, where they have the last chance to earn Olympic quota place.
“After this I need to go back and sit focussed and train hard. That’s the last tournament to earn Olympic places. It’s very very important tournament for me. Ahead of the World meet, I’m taking part in the Polish Open (March) and Spanish Open (April),” he said.
From being world ranked 255 in January 2004 to be current world no 40, Sharath Kamal has come a long way and he gives the credit to his overseas training.
“I went to a Sweden club in 2004 in search of getting better exposure. In fact the trend was started by Chetan Baboor... I moved to Spain where I spent four years and then to the current club in Germany where I’ve been playing for the last one year. Soon I’ll be joining Bremen, one of the top clubs in Germany,” he said.