Legendary Indian Table Tennis player Sharath Kamal feels that the 2021 Tokyo Games will be his best chance to win an Olympic medal. A total of four players – Sharath Kamal, Gnansekaran Sathiyan, Manika Batra, and Sutirtha Mukherjee have made the cut to the mega-event, across three events.
Table Tennis has not been India’s forte at the Olympics, with the nation still in the hunt for their maiden podium finish. Sharath Kamal, at the age of 38, who qualified for the fourth time in the quadrennial event, feels that the 2021 Tokyo Games is the best chance for him to notch-up a medal, considering the recent results and rankings, with him currently placed listed as the 32nd player in the world.
“This is going to be the best as far as results and performances are concerned. I haven’t gone into any Olympic Games previously with a world ranking as high as what I have now, which is 32. If I play in China in May, the ranking might get even better. So this time, I hope that I will be able to realise my dream of winning that Olympic medal which I’ve been aiming for since 2004,” said Sharath Kamal, during an interview with TOI.
In fact, the Indian duo of Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra has also qualified for the mixed doubles category, which further elates the hope, with the event starting from round-of-16. A revolutionary figure in the history of Indian Table Tennis, this might well be his last appearance at the Olympics.
“As we’ve qualified for the mixed doubles, it further raises the hopes since we are only three rounds away from a medal. This will be our best chance for an Olympic medal,” added the Chennai-based paddler.
A total of four players – Sharath Kamal, Gnansekaran Sathiyan, Manika Batra, and Sutirtha Mukherjee have made the cut to the 2021 Tokyo Games. In an attempt to get in their best shape ahead of the event, the athletes are planning on traveling abroad to get used to the weather conditions and also arrive in Tokyo as early as possible.
“But of course, to win that Olympic medal, I do need exposure. So, we are planning to go abroad by mid-May, to get adapted to new situations and weather conditions,” explained the 2006 Commonwealth Games Gold medallist.
“We will try to go as early as possible to Japan, considering we aren’t sure of the quarantine rules and SOPs. For mixed doubles, Manika and I will have to work together a lot. This is a golden opportunity to win a medal.”