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Table Tennis

Battling anxiety, self-doubt post CWG snub, Archana Kamath resurges at World C'ships

Archana battled anxiety and self-doubt after being dropped from the 2022 Commonwealth Games team.

Archana Kamath CWG team selection

Archana Kamath (Source: Flickr/WTT)


Pritish Raj

Published: 21 May 2023 4:52 AM GMT

It was not long back when Archana Kamath was ranked World number 4 in the women's doubles category along with Manika Batra, but a selection controversy and a court battle last year turned her life upside down.

To understand what happened, we need to go back to May 2022.

The CoA-administered Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) announced the team for 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games which had Manika Batra, Archana Kamath, Sreeja Akula, and Reeth Rishya with Diya Chitale as standby.

But in a surprising turn of events, Archana Kamath was dropped from the squad, and Diya Chitale was brought into the squad to fulfill the selection criteria.

Baffled by the move, Kamath decided to move to court despite knowing it could be a bad move for her career. The Karnataka High Court soon dismissed her petition and the paddler had to miss out on the 2022 CWG.

Nobody could pinpoint who was at fault, but it was certainly unfortunate for a player rising rapidly through the ranks at international level.

What followed next was a prolonged period of self-doubt and low morale for Archana before she battled through her tough phase.

Talking about this period, Archana told The Bridge, "I am very lucky. I always had a support system with me in the form of my parents, and sports psychologist. It is a process and I think it is still a work in progress"

Archana battled anxiety and self-doubt during this period. Opening up about her struggling period, Archana said, "It was tough you know. The whole saga affected my morale then and it was just sad that my international performances were not considered. I was very sad initially by this decision."

"There was a lot of sadness initially and rather tough, because we had to gather our thoughts and understand what happened. All of us were surprised because they (CoA) went back on the selections that were already announced," Archana's father had relayed while the saga happened last year.

But as it is said - time heals certain wounds. Archana has slowly recovered from the setback and is improving every day now. She even registered a first-round win at the ongoing 2023 World Table Tennis Championships in women's doubles partnering Manika Batra to enter the Round of 32.

"I am getting there after the setback. It was tough battling the thoughts in my head but having a sports psychologist helped me," said Archana.

"Having a sports psychologist was very helpful and balanced. The presence of a psychologist gives you a neutral, unbiased, and balanced view of whatever you are going through," she underlined the importance of a mental health professional.

Archana received support from all quarters including her psychologist Shantanu Kulkarni, parents Girish and Anuradha Kamath, coach Anshul Garg, Olympic Gold Quest, and her employer Indian Oil.

"Everyone supported me in some way or other which helped me. My partner Manika Batra was in constant touch with me and she kept telling me to focus on my game. It was nice of her," added Archana.

Archana reiterates that her relationship with the national federation is purely professional and she is focusing on her game at the moment.

"I am taking it match by match. The focus right now is on the World Championships. I would love to play in the Asian Games but I do not know how the selection process will be but I would love to represent India," Archana concluded.

Ranked world number 12 in women's doubles category currently, Archana has transitioned back to the elite level after a small setback and will look to add more accolades to her name.

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