Veteran Indian paddler Sharath Kamal has been of the opinion that India’s mixed doubles team, which has him and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, could win a medal at the Asian Championships next month. Kamal also expressed his concern in the delay of a foreign coach that has hindered their preparations.
With the Asian Championships scheduled to start on September 15 and go on to September 22 in Indonesia, Bali, the Indian paddlers’ next biggest challenge would be that one before they start competing in the Pro Tours like the Swedish Open, German Open and Austrian Open.
And Kamal has expressed his expectations of the mixed doubles team to clinch a medal in Indonesia. “In the team event, we have generally made it to the quarterfinals, this time if we could make it to the semifinals and win a medal, would be great,” he said, reported Sportstar.
Apart from the immediate competitions, a huge concern for the Indian contingent has been the delay in the foreign coach’s appointment, especially with 2020 Tokyo Olympics ahead. Canada's Dejan Papic was supposed to join the side in August this year but has stayed back with a knee surgery.
Kamal has stated that his further delay could really hurt the India squad’s training ahead of the gala event. “This is the longest wait we have ever had in terms of appointment of a foreign coach. After the 2010 Commonwealth Games, we had a long wait due to scams. It was a 3-6 month wait for a coach [then]. [Now] it is hitting us hard,” Sharath lamented.
He has also revealed that the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has decided to delay the Senior National championships, which was scheduled in the second week of January 2020 in Telangana, keeping an eye in the preparations of the team for the Olympic qualification [team] tournament in Gondomar (Portugal) from January 22 to 26.