Desperate Sharath Kamal wants to retain CWG gold medals at Glasgow

PTI
Published Apr 11, 2014, 11:16 pm IST
Updated Apr 7, 2019, 11:51 pm IST
Sharath Kamal wants to regain the CWG singles and team titles he won in 2006
Sharath Kamal's improved backhand has helped him equal his career-best ranking of 39 in nearly four years. Photo: PTI/ File
 Sharath Kamal's improved backhand has helped him equal his career-best ranking of 39 in nearly four years. Photo: PTI/ File

New Delhi: India's top table tennis player Sharath Kamal thinks he has finally won his long battle against a shaky backhand, which has helped him equal his career-best ranking of 39 in nearly four years.

The jump in the rankings has also given the three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist the confidence to set high targets in 2014, a crucial year with the World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asiad all lined up from late April to August.

 

On top of his wish list is breaking into the top-30 by year end. He also wants to regain the CWG singles and team titles he won in 2006.

"Playing in these big events gives me a chance to further improve my rankings. I think with the level of table tennis I am playing at the moment, I can probably look at a top 30 spot by 2014 end," Sharath told PTI from Dusseldorf where he has spent two years playing for top German club Borussia Dusseldorf.

He further said about his expectations: "Most importantly, I would like to win back the singles and team gold at the CWG but the mighty Singaporeans will be there as always and we have to figure out a way to beat them. Asian Games will obviously be tougher but I will try to get the maximum out of it."

 

Interestingly, it was right before the 2010 CWG in New Delhi that the Chennai-born paddler broke into the top-50 and he has again found his rhythm ahead of the Glasgow Games in July-August. He endured a tough time in between as the changes he made in his game did not bear fruit.

He started losing to lower-ranked players and even the youngsters back home besides letting go off his throne at the National Championship after winning it six times. Now he feels he has improved significantly in the last 12 months with his ever lethal forehand complimenting a solid backhand, considered vital in the modern game.

 

"All this improvement is a result of stability in my backhand. I am pretty much a different player from last year and have improved my game in all aspects. Training in Germany for the last two years too has helped a great deal," said the lanky player.

It was only in March he recorded the biggest win of his career, beating World No.8 Chuang Chih-Yuan of Chinese Taipei in the Asian Cup. India's foreign coach Peter Engel, too, is pleased with Sharath's progress but warns his backhand issues are not solved yet.

"His backhand has become better but still there is a lot of room for improvement. The recent results show that he is winning the important points and is more relaxed with his service. As he is hardly training with us in India, I hope his club coaches fix the flaw completely," Engel said.

 

Overall, the last six months have been encouraging for Indian table tennis with youngsters Harmeet Desai (136) and Soumyajit Ghosh (118) entering the world's top-150. Senior player Anthony Amalraj falls just out of that bracket on 151.

Sharath said the future augurs well for the men's team. "This is a really good sign and Amalraj should be also be in the top 150 soon. Now we have a very balanced team and we can challenge many of the world's top teams. Ghosh and Harmeet will break the top 100 barrier mark if they continue the same way," the 31-year-old concluded.

 

...




ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
-->