“Star Table Tennis player, Achanta Sharath Kamal became the 1st Indian T.T player to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games”. This was the headline of almost all the prominent digital media houses in India with respect to the Indian Table Tennis team on Thursday. But the fact is different. It’s Sutritha Mukherjee- The 1st Indian to qualify for Tokyo Olympic Games 2021. And G Sathiyan is the 1st Indian male player to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics Games. Both of them were the 1st to qualify from the South Asia region.
Sarath Kamal and Manika Batra will officially qualify for Tokyo Olympics on the 1st of April based on April Olympic qualification rankings.
Sharath Kamal In Doha (Asian Olympic Qualifications)
Kamal won against Pakistan’s Muhammad Rameez at the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament in Doha.
Kamal won by 11-4, 11-1, 11-5, 11-4 in the game with Rameez. It took a little over 22 minutes to finish the game. Kamal and Rameez were competing in the second men’s singles round-robin match in the South Asia group.
This is to note that Kamal had lost his 1st match, 9-11, 13-15, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 8-11 to Gnansekaran Sathiyan.
The victory over Rameez ensured at least a second-place for Kamal in the tournament. This helped the Indian secured a birth in Tokyo Olympic Games 2021.
Sharath is currently the top-ranked player in the group. He secured the place under the Asian quota.
For Kamal, it will be his fourth appearance at the Olympic Games.
I'm extremely proud of your achievements @sharathkamal1 🏓
Congratulations on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games for the 4th consecutive times in men’s singles. I'm confident that you and @manikabatra_TT will qualify in mixed doubles also. https://t.co/QfLRzN4mg9 pic.twitter.com/mGi29laiWe
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) March 18, 2021
“It was a good competition between me and Sathiyan. I made some mistakes, and he used them against me to win the match. In the match against Rameez, I was a bit nervous, I had never faced him before”.
“But after the early few games, I gained confidence. My strategy was working, and I executed it rightly,” Sharath said.
The 38-year-old Sharath added that qualifying for Tokyo Olympics after the pandemic is a big relief.
“A lot many things have happened in the previous year. I was the champion in the Oman series. I was in good shape, and my confidence was high. While I was preparing for the qualification match in Thailand in just two weeks, it all happened. Everything stopped due to the pandemic”.
“Right now I am in the best rankings of my career. It boosts my confidence and brings a huge sigh of relief. The way last year went, this qualification is very special for me. This will be my fourth appearance in the Olympics but it will be my best till now.”
Sharath is looking to secure a double qualification. He and Manika Batra qualified for the semi-finals in the mixed doubles. The pair over-ruled Mohammed Abdulwahhab and Maha Faramarzi of Qatar 11-6, 11-6, 11-2, 11-3 in the quarters.
Sarath and Manika received a bye in the first round. Now they will face Koen Pang Yew En and Ye Lin of Singapore in the last-four match on Friday.
Congratulations! To Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, and Sutirtha Mukherjee for such an amazing achievement.
Team #KreedOn extends the heartiest well wishes to all.
All the very best for the Tokyo Olympics. #Jaihind.
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