Asian Games 2018: Indian paddler Sharath Kamal says main aim at mega event is to grab gold medal

Mumbai: India's ace paddler Sharath Kamal says he is in the "best phase" of his career and is eyeing a medal in the upcoming Asian Games.

The continental showpiece is scheduled to be held in Indonesian capital Jakarta and Palembang from 18 August to 2 September.

File image of Sharath Kamal. Reuters

File image of Sharath Kamal. Reuters

"We are in the final phase of our preparations, the last two months which will see us play a lot of matches, UTT is here, after this the Australia and Korea Open which are Super Series tournaments," Sharath told PTI.

The multiple Commonwealth Games medallist added, "Preparation has been right on track, confidence is high among the squad. But our main aim at the Asian Games is to get a gold. We've always gone on to the quarterfinals but have faltered at that hurdle as it's really tough.

"But this year, if we have a good draw and given our confidence, on a particular day, we can beat the best in the world," Kamal told PTI.

Sharath excelled in the Commonwealth Games gone by in Gold Coast, winning a gold, silver and bronze medal. The veteran also impressed in the World Championship.

"The World Championship was my career's best performance. The way I played there, all the players from around the world came up to me and congratulated me for the touch I was in.

"I made the highest number of points that an individual could ever make, even more than the World Number 1 Ma Long or Timo Boll.

"We finished 13th compared to 25th last time. A lot of people have a wrong impression that the World C'ships weren't as great for us but the comparison is too big, in terms of being the world champions from the CWG champions. We had a fantastic run there, personally, moving from 25 to 13 is a great achievement," he noted.

According to Sharath, the year has been great for him starting from the Qatar Open (and) to the CWG.

"I am in the best phase of my career. But I believe, in the next 3-4 months, I will have my career best ranking," he added.

Sharath is leading the Warriors TTC in the ongoing UTT league, which began in Pune last week, and credited it for the improvements in his game.

"After last year's UTT season, it gave us that impetus to do better. However, the platform has to be consistent and if it stays so then we will have more youngsters watching us, the foreign players and will get inspired to get better and make us a better Table Tennis nation," the paddler from Tamil Nadu said.

"Table Tennis is my identity, so I will stay connected to the sport but we will have to wait for some more time before I go onto the other side of things," the 35-year-old paddler signed off.


Updated Date: Jun 18, 2018 21:12 PM

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