Confident of Oly qualification but medal hopes slim: Sharath

Lucknow: Achanta Sharath Kamal is confident of qualifying for the London Olympics this year but does not see an Indian paddler finishing on the podium at the quadrennial extravaganza.

"I am confident I will be there, but realistically speaking, we don`t have any medal chance," said Sharath, who has just returned from Bremen, Germany, after training.

Given the hectic season ahead with Asian Championship next month at Macau, the World Championships in Dortmund, Germany and Olympic qualifiers in Hong Kong, Sharath has very little time left to prepare for the London Games.

"What I am happy with is my graph is again rising and I have to pick up the threads from here," said the world No 79.

He had his first brief meeting with new foreign coach from Poland, Leszek Kucharski, today and was seen chalking out plans for the Asian and World Championships and the subsequent Olympic qualifiers.

But his immediate plan is to make his Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) teammates up the ante in the ongoing Senior National and Inter-State Championships here and help the side retain the crown.

Sharath`s achievements have been the fountainhead of inspiration for the upcoming youngsters. His ideology is simple and straight.

"I learnt things from my seniors and I want the youngsters to pick up something from my game that can help them reach even greater heights," said Sharath, reasoning out why he makes it a point to come and participate in the Senior Nationals.

Sharath admits he has had his ups and downs in the past year and that has taught him to be a tougher person now.

"I went through a bad patch last year between April and September but I have returned with a lot of confidence. From here things can only get better."

Sharath was left to fend for himself after Italian coach Massimo Constantini departed at the end of his contract with TTFI after the Guangzhou Asian Games.

That left him rudderless as Constantini used to make plans which Sharath was executing with precision. With his form going down and other external factors clouding him, Sharath was unable to plan things the way they should have been.

He, however, exuded confidence that he can regain the form he had touched during the Asian Championship in Lucknow in 2009 and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

"My mental state was at its highest and it helped me do well in the US Open and Egypt Open. I want to reach that zone before Olympics."


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