Sharath Kamal Achanta
Sharath Kamal AchantaFile

Sharath Kamal Achanta sets sights on Olympic success

Owner of a whopping 13 CWG and two Asian Games medals, Sharath wants to achieve Olympic success before drawing curtains on an illustrious career.

NEW DELHI: Ageing like fine wine, Sharath Kamal Achanta has set his sights on yet another shot at the Olympic Games, his confidence boosted by a grand showing at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games.

At 40, Sharath returned from Birmingham as the most-decorated Indian athlete at the 2022 Games, with four medals. After winning the yellow metal in mixed doubles, Sharath clinched the singles gold after 16 years, the first coming at the 2006 Melbourne CWG.

Having played at the top level for over 20 years, Sharath is in no mood to retire just yet, and is determined to give himself two more years in search of an elusive Olympic medal. “It feels great to get my personal best at CWG. My highest was three, this time I won a fourth medal. Fitness is key, it is something I have been able to keep up, keep track of myself. I am working a lot to keep myself fit,” Sharath told PTI.

“I always try to keep my body and mind fit, especially because the reflexes of youngsters are fast. I just try to be at par so that I can compete with them.”

Owner of a whopping 13 CWG and two Asian Games medals, Sharath wants to achieve Olympic success before drawing curtains on an illustrious career.

“Still that hunger to win medals is there, I am always looking to get better. I want to take two years at a time. So Paris 2024 could be a landmark year where we could qualify for the team event, and hopefully, win a medal,” Sharath said.

“It is a process, first we arrived at the CWG level. Then, we established ourselves at the Asian level. Next [target] is the Olympics.” The country’s most celebrated paddler, Sharath believes that the landscape of table tennis in India has changed a lot over the years.

“The popularity of table tennis in the country has increased and I am glad that we could inspire a generation of youngsters with our performances. Back then, my ranking was 130, and now, it is 38. I have a player who is ranked higher than me in Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who is at 36. We never had such highly-ranked players.”

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Paris 2024 could be a landmark year where we could qualify for the team event, and hopefully, win a medal

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Sharath Kamal Achanta

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