Following a successful mixed doubles combination with Manika Batra, veteran table tennis star Achanta Sharath Kamal has stated that he is eyeing a medal at the Tokyo Olympics next year.
"The main reason we played the national championships was to prepare for the Hungarian Open and specially for next year because the qualification process for the Olympics is through these pro tours which are over the course of the next 12 months. By the end of December 2019 we will get to know whether we have qualified for the Olympics.
The first stage of Olympic qualification is through the mixed doubles, followed by the team championships qualification which will be followed by the singles qualification. So we are trying our level best to qualify for the mixed doubles," Kamal told.
Kamal further added, "There is a big chance for a medal in the mixed doubles because there are only 16 pairs. One from each country. So there is a fair chance of winning a medal in Tokyo," he added.
Kamal claimed that he has full faith in his (mixed doubles) combination with Batra, and is confident of taking the best from the world.
Kamal added, "I will play only with Manika. I think with Manika we have formed the right pair to beat the world's top pairs. I used to play mixed doubles earlier as well, but the main factor in this category is when the woman is good. When the woman player is strong, then the men play second fiddle."
The 36-year-old also opined that the country is still in dire needs of better infrastructure to improve its performance at the international level. "We need more infrastructure. That is what I keep telling everybody. That's a necessity, not only for table tennis but for many other sports as well because we lack infrastructure. That is where we don't get the right kind of exposure. Many times we play in small halls and when we have tournaments in big halls we are intimidated by the size of the hall and the atmosphere and sometimes we don't perform at our best. I think we also need to train in such top facilities to perform in those kind of places. I think infrastructure is the need of the hour," Kamal concluded.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega