Sharath still India`s No 1, says London-bound Soumyajit

New Delhi: Soumyajit Ghosh hasn`t got swayed by all the adulation he has received since booking his berth for London Olympics and still maintains that Achanta Sharath Kamal is still India`s No 1 paddler.

"I sincerely wish that Sharath does well at the World Qualifiers. For us, he is an inspiration. When we came into the circuit, he was already an established star," Soumyajit, who reached his hometown Siliguri to a rousing reception, said.

"Make no mistake, Achanta Sharath Kamal was and still is India`s No 1 paddler. Probably he was a bit nervous in Hong Kong. If he is around in London, it will be a huge boost for a youngster like me. He is someone whom you can look upto," an emotional Ghosh added.

The youngster is realistic about his chances at the Games and would like to perform to the best of his abilities.

"It would be a great experience. Hopefully, I can keep up the good work in London and make my country proud," he said.

Ghosh agreed that his performance in Hong Kong wasn`t upto the mark even though he managed a South Asian quota berth.

"I won the first few matches and then lost my way against Korea and Taipei. Beating Vietnam`s Tran Tuan Quynh was crucial and then I had a real tough match against Anthony Amal Raj.

"I had already played two matches on that day before meeting Amal Raj, so it got even more difficult for me," Ghosh stated.

The World Junior circuit title in 2010 is something that instilled belief in Ghosh that he is ready to move onto the next level.

"The World Junior circuit title gave me a lot of confidence. It also paved my entry to the senior team. I also performed well in the domestic tournaments and I am thankful to my federation and to my coaches for keeping their faith in me," he said.

The youngster is indebted to national coach Bhawani Mukherjee for his consistent support.

"Bhawani Mukherjee has been of great help. He has helped me both on and off the table and has always encouraged me to do better.

"The role of (head coach Leszek) Kucharski has also been vital. During our camp in Patiala ahead of the qualifiers he advised me what to do and what not to in different situations," the paddler said.

Ghosh however feels that a lot of work needs to be done ahead of the Olympics including the fitness aspect.

"Before heading to London, my primary concern would be to improve upon my fitness. We have a camp in Patiala and probably, we will also have some exposure tours abroad. I will work in unison with my coaches and would try and improve upon my game as per their advice," he concluded.