Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sharath Kamal: Sacrifices each day for this one day!

You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only option you have. And that’s exactly what India’s star paddler Sharath Kamal realized after he qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016.

As I was following the live scoring, my heart skipped a beat each time he lost a point. A passionate Sharath Kamal fan, I was shattered when he didn’t get his golden ticket in the 1st stage.

Sharath injured his back during the 1st day of the tournament and was plastered all over to keep going on for the 2nd stage. In the 1st stage, he lost to his teammates Soumyajit Ghosh and Anthony Amalraj finishing 3rd in the group.

But the 33-year-old never gave up, because giving up is never an option for him. Although every inch of body was in pain, Sharath entered the 2nd stage with only one fact in mind- 

Your body can stand almost anything, its always the mind you have to convince.

The draw was favorable, but his opponents pushed him till the end, every point was strategically planned and every shot was executed fierceless.

He beat Iran's Noshad Alamiyan in a nail biting 7 setter to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Sharath was trailing 1-3 but his resilience and determination got out the best in him. Sharath won 4-3 (12-14, 11-6, 3-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6).

His first reaction to me: “I am enormously tired, I have so much pain in my back. But I am really very happy, lot of emotions went through this whole tournament. I was sure I would qualify by my World ranking. Then all of a sudden I had to play the 2nd stage, I was stressed, could not sleep all night.”

This will be Sharath’s 3rd Olympic appearance after 2004 (Athens) and 2008 (Beijing).

He failed to qualify for the London games in 2012, a big blow for the legend. Many said that its time to call it a day, but Sharath had different plans ahead.

“I have been working the last 4 years with the Olympic games in mind. With hard work I started playing my best table tennis after moving to Germany and achieved my best world ranking ever”

He reached his career highest ranking- No.32 in May 2015. He also reached the round of 32 in the 2015 World Championships, and in the Asian Cup the same year, he beat 3 top 20 world ranked players. Indeed, his training in Germany was paying off. He plays for the club Borussia Dusseldorf alongside teammates Timo Boll, Panagiotis Gionis and Patrick Franziska. He also lead India to win its first ever 2nd division title in the recently concluded World Team Table Tennis Championship at Malaysia this March.

But these achievements come along with a lot of sacrifices he made each day to achieve his Olympic dream.

“Life was hard without family as my wife felt that they were taking my focus away from Table Tennis. So they decided to move back to India so that I could focus on my training.” confessed Sharath.

Sharath is not only a husband but also a proud father to his beautiful 5-year-old daughter. 

In a recent interview Sharath revealed that in the last 5 years he has not spent even two years in total with his daughter. His wife is managing everything so that he can concentrate only on his sport.

Missing those “first” moments of his own kid as she discovers life each day, could be gloomy, but his determination towards his game and the support from his family is commendable.

“I had it in my mind that I would qualify for the Olympic Games this time. I am glad I did it. But I need to be in the best of my shape for the Rio Games”

Sharath is focused, he is strong, knows his strengths and weakness well. He is a man who always has a plan.

He expressed his goals on his Facebook Page:

 "But this was not my main goal, the goal is in Rio"

The goal is probably another milestone: India's first ever Olympic medal in Table Tennis. 

We a billion people of this beautiful country are with him, we wish he recovers well from this tournament and is ready to create history at Rio.

The clock is ticking, and Sharath will be ready.

111 days to Rio. 



  1. Great article Neha :D Sharath dedication is mind blowing :D

  2. Tough time never lasts, but tough people do!