Indian table tennis legend Achanta Sharath Kamal will lead a 10-member team during a training tour to Portugal from July 3 to 10, ahead of the upcoming Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022. The team comprises five women players, with as many men players, along with two coaches with them.
The two coaches part of the camp will be, Raman Subramanian and Anindita Chakraborty. The team will feature Sanil Shetty, Gunnasekaran Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai, and Manush as well. Sreeja Akula, Reeth Tennison, Manika Batra, Diya Chitale, and Swastika Ghosh are part of the women's team.
"We have come into the final phase of preparation going into the Commonwealth Games. We will be going for match practice and a training camp in Portugal. The tour will be followed by a WTT tournament in Hungary," Sharath said during a virtual press conference organised by the Sports Authority of India.
"We will be playing in a good international tournament. The training camp will help us revaluate our training session and preparations ahead of the CWG," the 39-year-old said. He might be at the fag end of his career, but Sharath is still India's best bet in the CWG, having constantly worked on his physical fitness and mental health.
"The amount of time I am spending at the gym is much more compared to my table tennis. I am also working on my mental fitness. I am having two fitness sessions and one table tennis session. It changes according to necessity, intensity varies," he said.
Meanwhile, he will be partnering Sreeja Akula in the mixed doubles. "I have always been a team guy which is a very important thing while playing doubles. For me the most important factor is adaptability. I adapt easily which helps me in doubles," he said. All the players on the tour are part of the Birmingham-bound Indian team picked by the Committee of Administrators. The Indian table tennis players had won all the team events at the last edition of the CWG and returned with a haul of three gold, two silver, and three bronze.