Sharath, known for his aggressive strokes, had to change his style of play after the career threatening injury.

Indias Olympic Hope Bouncing back from injury Chennais Sharath Kamal is all set for RioPTI/file photo
news Rio Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - 17:26

Overcoming a career threatening injury a year ago, Chennai’s Achantha Sharath Kamal is leading the Indian table tennis (TT) contingent and is hopeful about his chances in the upcoming Rio Games.

"Making the Olympic quarterfinals is my current personal goal. I don't want to talk big about winning a medal and then blame it on the weather or the table if I lose early. Once in the quarterfinals, a medal is just a step away," the World No 69 told ESPN in June.

Thirty-four-year-old Arjuna awardee, Sharath will be playing his third Olympics in Brazil and is part of the four-member team representing India in).

He secured his ticket to Rio by making the cut in the Asian Olympic qualification event in Hong Kong. 

Born into a Telugu family, Sharath is a Chennai resident, and an alumnus of PSBB School of Nungambakkam, besides being a graduate of Loyola College. He currently plays for Borussia Dusseldorf after switching between several European clubs.  

He moved out of the country at 22 after becoming the national champion. After spending a year in Sweden and four years in Spain, in 2010, he finally moved to Germany where he continues to live.   

With a career best ranking of 32, Sharath is realistic about his chances and is looking forward to reach the quarters.

"Making the Olympic quarterfinals is my current personal goal. I don't want to talk big about winning a medal and then blame it on the weather or the table if I lose early. Once in the quarterfinals, a medal is just a step away," the World No 69 told ESPN in June.

Having already missed the 2012 Olympics, Sharath’s Rio dreams were almost shattered when he hurt his back in May last year, during the World Championships in China.

"There were times when I drove to physio sessions in Germany and couldn't gather myself to get out of the car. I was in a lot of pain. I would just sit in the car, sometimes up to half an hour. I thought this is it. My career is over," he was quoted in the ESPN interview.

Sharath, known for his aggressive strokes, had to change his style of play after the career threatening injury.

2010 was one of the high points of Sharath’s career when he won the US Open Table Tennis Men’s Championships and became the first Indian to win a singles title on the ITTF Pro Tour, by acing the Egypt Open.

To his credit, Sharath won the Commonwealth Games gold in 2006 and 2010 and was also the sole Indian TT player to represent the country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

(India's Olympic Hope is a series of profiles of south India's Olympic participants of Rio 2016)

 

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.