Two CWG singles golds 16 years apart an out of this world feeling; future of Indian TT in the right hands, says Sharath Kamal | Commonwealth Games 2022 News

NEW DELHI: Before he flew to Birmingham for The game of commonwealth (CWG), Sharath Kamal explicitly mentioned “I’m playing my best ping pong at age 40. “When he returned home a week later, Sharath had transformed those words into an incredible three gold and one silver medal, and a run that included a coveted men’s singles win. – an achievement he last achieved on his CWG debut. , going back to 2006.
Sharath recently spoke with about this and more.
To be the country’s most successful athlete at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in his fifth appearance at the Games is an achievement built entirely on resilience. recovery and process. And the fact that his young teammates have accompanied him on the podium – men’s team gold, men’s doubles silver (with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran) and mixed golds (with Sreeja Akula), speaks volumes about how Sharath not only elevates his own game but also plays an important role in helping others rise with him.
The way he continues to do it year after year, while constantly raising the bar, is something Sharath himself can best answer and he did it in exactly the same way as the previous hand. of him in this interview with
Two CWG singles gold medals 16 years apart, few people can do it…
It was truly an out of this world feeling. Doing it 16 years apart is a huge task. But if you look at my chart, I’ve always been there. Unlike the other times I lost in the first or second round. Of course, I played the final (CWG singles) again (after 16 years), and I haven’t had a singles final in recent times, but I did.
This time, I’m not sure I’ll win the gold; but there’s a chance I can because the players above me are the ones I’ve beaten (in the past), so I have a fair chance against them. But at the same time, (I know) it is the performance on that day that will decide who wins.


Sharath Kamal (AP Photo)
India secured the men’s team gold medal, but you personally didn’t get off to a good start to your campaign, having lost the final against Singapore. Did it shock you?
Not really. At the end of the day, it’s a team game and the team has to win. It really doesn’t matter. It’s about team building. Winning in the semi-finals is also one of the important victories. I was very confident when I beat Nigeria’s top seed (Aruna Quadri). I know I’m on the right track. That match (losing in the final) was a one-off only. It can happen, but it doesn’t bother me.

Winning mixed doubles gold with Sreeja Akula must have been equally special…
Sreeja had a great tournament (CWG). She gained a lot of confidence through the tournament. From start to finish, she is a completely different player. Sreeja’s appearance was clearly visible. In the men’s and women’s doubles category, we worked well together. We personally all have good confidence that has been seen on the table. It’s very, very important that we can convert that from single to double (mixed).


Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula (Photo PTI)
Did you surprise yourself with three gold medals in Birmingham?
I never thought I would win three gold medals. I was hoping I could win a medal, no matter the color. Winning 3-4 medals is what I was looking for. One thing or another fell into the right place. We won a team gold medal, gained a lot of confidence. That was ‘juggling’ (us) in the doubles and individual categories.
What will you credit this landmark performance to?
A lot is involved in peaking at the right time and gaining that confidence. It doesn’t happen overnight or suddenly, like we don’t know how we did it. That (sort of) happened in 2006. I don’t know how it happened (back then), it happened. But this time there is a clear process to climax in time, both body and mind work in tandem and reach their best. In the end, we successfully launched.

Would you then say that Sharath in 2006 was an unbridled brilliance and a 2022 was all about process and planning?
Yes a lot. It’s just like that. A lot of things were considered (this time), a lot of things under control. We’re constantly working on a sort of schedule that we’re going to have and trying to emulate that with head-to-head matches. It’s pretty much in sync with the whole thing. So everything was very well planned.

But your steadfastness is unmatched. Manika Batra had a dream CWG 2018 but couldn’t maintain it at Birmingham. What is the secret behind Sharath Kamal doing it year after year?
By being able to adapt and get out of your comfort zone all the time, rise to the challenge and keep pushing forward. I think there is a healthy internal competition where we are trying to push each other to be better. That is also something that is helping me.


Sharath Kamal (Photo Reuters)
Even before you flew to Birmingham, you said that the 2024 Paris Olympics are a very important part of your next set of goals. Have you ever thought about life beyond that point?
I will stay with the game. The game is my identity. I haven’t decided exactly what to do yet. But I will be there to help these children, to mentor them, to build a structure or a system for the younger generation.
When you enter the twilight phase of your career leading up to Paris OlympicsHow confident are you about the generation that will take over?
I don’t have to worry. It (the future of the Indian president) is in the right hand. These people will do better than what I did. As I said, there is good cohesion, good teamwork and at the same time there is good internal competition between us to keep pushing each of us forward. These people will do well. There is no doubt about that.

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