| Sharath Kamal |
Calcutta: For paddler Sharath Kamal, participating in the Olympics is not everything.
Sharath is in the city to participate in the All India Inter-Institutional Table Tennis Championships, being held at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra.
Sharath, representing PSPB, thrashed CRSB’s Eric Fernandez in straight games to help his team enter the men’s final on Thursday. Sharath thrashed Fernandez 11-8, 11-8, 11-7.
“I am trying to improve on my weaknesses. I’m also working really hard on my fitness. I want to go to Rio Olympics (in 2016) as fit as possible. Indians normally peak at this age in all sports. And for a player of my abilities, mere participation in Olympics doesn’t count at all,” said the 30-year-old.
Speaking to the media after his match, Sharath said he was happy with his performance. “I think I’m in good shape. I played well here today.”
The paddler conceded that things didn’t go his way for the last one year as he failed to book a berth for the London Games.
Sharath sounded excited with his selection in the Asian team for the Euro-Asia Event (European stage), which is scheduled to be held at Vendee, France, as it provides him with an opportunity to regain his form and touch.
“I’ve always done well against Asian players. Their playing style is more or less the same as that of mine.
“Importantly, I’m ahead of them especially when it comes to power. And my best victories too have been against them. So without doubt, the selection comes in as a good break for me,” Sharath said.
To regain his form, Sharath is training in Germany alongside top German paddlers like Timo Boll, Patrick Baum and Dimitri Ovtcharov instead of playing league matches.
“What I invest today and tomorrow, I’ll reap that later in future,” he explains. “Last season, before the Olympic qualifications, I had got a call from the German national federation to practice with their players there. I agreed to it and at present, I have a coach there along with a physio and am treated just as other top German paddlers.
Anthony Amalraj and Olympian Soumyajit Ghosh, inspired by the senior pro, went about their tasks methodically to demolish the CRSB team 3-0. PSPB will clash with RSPB in the final after the latter defeated Airport Authority of India (AAI) 3-1 in their semi-final.
Earlier, the PSPB women also made it to the final beating Dena Bank 3-1. PSPB women will meet RSPB who blanked out Airports Authority of India 3-0 in the other semi-final.