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'My best is yet to come', says Sharath Kamal ahead of his fifth Olympics

Sharath Kamal prepares for his fifth Olympics, aiming for a podium finish in Paris, backed by advanced training and coaching.

My best is yet to come, says Sharath Kamal ahead of his fifth Olympics

13-time commonwealth medallist Sharath Kamal feels his best is yet to come. (File Photo)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 9 July 2024 5:55 AM GMT

Veteran paddler and Indian flagbearer, Achanta Sharath Kamal, who is set to represent India in his fifth Olympic Games in Paris, believes that his "best is yet to come."

Known for his resilience and experience, the 41-year-old athlete reflected on his journey, highlighting his victories at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 where he secured three gold medals, including a historic win in men's singles.

"I am happy that I'm scaling new heights with each passing year, besides improving both physically and mentally. I hope the best is yet to come," said Sharath.

Despite facing challenges at the Asian Games in Hangzhou last year, Sharath Kamal contributed to securing India's men's team a coveted quota for the Paris Olympics following their last-16 finish at the World Table Tennis Championships in Busan, South Korea.

"To highlight one particular achievement from my career would not do justice to my other achievements. The Asian Games bronze (Jakarta 2018) and Commonwealth Games gold are two of the highs of my career," he said, reflecting on his illustrious career that includes 13 Commonwealth Games medals.

With an impressive rise in the ITT rankings from 88 to 34, Sharath Kamal credits his longevity and success to rigorous training and coaching.

Reuniting with Italian coach Massimo Costantini has fueled his dream of an Olympic podium finish.

"Back then, I didn't know what getting into the Olympics was. But I have built up into the player I am right now, and hopefully, in my fifth Olympics, I have a chance to get that medal. And once that happens, I can be truly satisfied with my career," he said.

Acknowledging the 'uphill task' ahead, especially with challenging seeding, Sharath Kamal remains optimistic about India's prospects in table tennis at the Olympics.

He emphasized the importance of systematic training and sports science, including recent genetic and bone density scans, to enhance his preparation.

"I'm not getting younger any day. Age is not on my side, and I have to ensure that I reverse the clock. It is something that I'm trying to get better for this Olympics," he said.

Sharath Kamal has been working on his technical skills and practising with different levels of players in different conditions for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

He now looks forward to putting those learnings into action, looking forward to adding another inspiring chapter in Indian sports history.

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