HIGHLIGHTS:

  • In a country like India where it’s difficult to get recognition in sports other than Cricket, Sharath Kamal Achanta has been quite an exception.

  • Like most children in the country, Kamal too had to choose between studies and career. Thankfully, he chose the latter.

  • Kamal credits his first coaches, Srinivasa Rao (father) and uncle, Muralidhara Rao for planting the seed that has grown ever so fruitful.

  • Sharath Kamal has been an inspiration for numerous youngsters, including the likes of Harmeet Desai, Manav Thakkar, and Sanil Shetty. He sees the future of Indian Table Tennis in safe hands.

  • From winning the 16th Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships in 2004 to winning 3 Golds in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Sharath Kamal has come a long way.

  • After stints in Spain and Sweden, Sharath Kamal is currently based in Germany and plays for Borussia Düsseldorf in the German Bundelisga.

  • It won’t be wrong to term Sharath Kamal as one of the most decorated Table Tennis players in the country.

    sharath kamal table tennis kreedon

 

AN EARLY START:

Hailing from a humble background, Sharath Kamal has always been a family man. He started playing Table Tennis at the age of 5 with his father and uncle coaching and guiding him. What started as a hobby soon turned into a passion after he began attending coaching sessions post Kindergarten. He not only learned the tricks and nuances of the sport from his first coaches but also learned about the importance of discipline, hard work, and perseverance. Since they had already produced some great national-level players, it was pretty easy for Srinivasa Rao (father) to get Kamal great exposure and often pitted him against senior players at practice.

One often reaches a point where they are presented with two options and they have to choose what path to embark upon. Kamal encountered such a situation in class 10 when he was asked to choose between engineering and Table Tennis. Two completely different roads laid with uncertainty and roadblocks.  Kamal decided to go the TT way and hasn’t looked back ever since. His numbers and trophy cabinet speaks volumes of his success and he couldn’t have done it without the support of his parents.

QUICK FACTS:

Date of Birth: 12 July 1982

Height: 187 cm

Weight: 89 kg

Event: Table Tennis

Parents: Srinivasa Rao and Annapoorna

School: PSBB School, Nungambakkam

Alma Mater: Loyola College, Chennai.

Coaches: Massimo Costantini, Linus Mernstein, Srinivasa Rao (father), Muralidhara Rao (Uncle)

Sharath kamal table tennis Family kreedon
Sharath Kamal Achanta , along with wife Sripoorni ,daughter Suyasha and son Tejas

A BRIGHT START TO HIS CAREER:

Sharath Kamal Achanta is no alien to setting new records. As it turns out, he has been doing it as early as 2004. Currently ranked 33 in the world rankings, Kamal won gold in the men’s singles event of the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur. Owing to his staggering domestic record and first major success at the international level, Kamal was awarded the Arjuna Award at the age of 22 in the same year. Since then Sharath has been a role model for the young stars of the Indian Table tennis team. Player feel confident when he is in the team and look up-to him for inspiration.

Sharath kamal table tennis kreedon

MELBOURNE COMMONWEALTH GAMES:

Sharath Kamal has had an imposing CWG record. It all started off in 2006 when we won 2 gold medals at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. The first Gold came in the men’s singles event as he beat the crowd favourite, William Henzell in the finals. The men’s team Gold followed soon after. Kamal and co beat Singapore in the final.

 

Sharath kamal table tennis kreedon
Sharath Kamal won 4 gold medals at CWG games for India

2007- A YEAR TO REMEMBER:

The very next year, in 2007, Kamal achieved a feat no other Indian had till the time. He became the first Indian to clinch Pyongyang Invitational Tournament title held at Pyongyang, North Korea.

He then replicated his impressive performance in the Japan Pro tour where he beat world no. 19, Lee Jung Woo of South Korea to register one of the most successful victories of his career.

2010- SHARATH’S STRONG PERFORMANCE BACK HOME:

The 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games hold a special place in every Indian’s heart. The host nation finished second a with a staggering 101 medals and the Indian paddlers played an instrumental role. Sharath Kamal couldn’t clinch the country a medal in the men’s singles event but was to quick to make up for the lost opportunity by winning 2 medals. In the men’s doubles event, he partnered Subhajit Saha to bag the gold medal and then won the silver medal with his teammates in the team event.

2018- A MONUMENTAL OUTING FOR INDIAN PADDLERS

The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will go down as one of the most successful performances for Indian Table Tennis players in the history books. Out of 9 medals events, the Indian clinched 7. Sharath Kamal alone won 3 of them. He teamed up with  Anthony AmalrajHarmeet DesaiSathiyan Gnanasekaran to clinch Gold in the men’s team event. He then partnered Sanil Shetty in the men’s double to bag the silver medal. His wait for a Commonwealth single’s medal finally came to an end after winning Bronze at Gold Coast. A complete and a domination performance by the stalwart of Indian Table Tennis, it was a victory of epic proportions.

 

A SORRY OLYMPICS TALE:

Sharath Kamal has conquered numerous events and tournaments, but he is yet to make his mark on the biggest stage of them all, the Olympics. The Indian Table Tennis, in general, has had an appalling record in the Olympics. He couldn’t win a medal at 2004 Athens Olympics and shockingly enough, he was the only Indian TT player who could make the cut for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Once again, he returned empty-handed.

Fast forward to the Rio Olympics of 2016, Sharath Kamal was suffering from a grueling hamstring injury and his participation in the Games looked highly unlikely. However, it wasn’t going to stop the every strong-willed and determined Sharath Kamal. A 6-month rehab ensured his return. Unfortunately, his journey came to an end in the first round itself as he lost to Adrian Crisan of Romania.

SHARATH KAMAL AND THE GERMAN CONNECTION:

Sharath Kamal is currently put in Germany and his love for the country goes to back to 2010. The Indian Oil officer played in the German major league (Bundesliga) for TSV Gräfelfing in the 2010-11 season. He has been one of the best players in the league with wins over top German TT players. In the 2011-12 season, he played for SV Werder Bremen. During 2012–13, he played in the Swedish league before returning to Germany in May 2013 to sign for Borussia Düsseldorf. Borussia Düsseldorf is one of the best clubs in Europe. Sharath and the team also won the Deutsche Pokal for the year 2013, a prestigious cup tournament in Germany. Currently, Sharath Kamal is still playing for the “Rekordmeister.”

List of Achievements:

COMMONWEALTH GAMES:

Year

Place

Event

Medal

2006

Melbourne

Men’s singles

Gold

2006

Melbourne

Men’s team

Gold

2010

Delhi

Men’s doubles

Gold

2010

Delhi

Men’s team

Bronze

2018

Gold Coast

Men’s team

Gold

2018

Gold Coast

Men’s doubles

Silver

2018

Gold Coast

Men’s singles

Bronze

 

ITF PRO TOURS:

Year

Tour

Event

Medal

2010

Egypt Open

Men’s Singles

Gold

2010

Egypt Open

Men’s team

Gold

  

COMMONWEALTH TABLE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP:

Year

Place

Event

Medal

2004

Kuala Lumpur

Men’s singles

Gold

 

AWARDS:

Arjuna Award- 2004

 

WHAT NEXT?

The Indian paddlers will lock horns with UAE, Vietnam, Macau, and Chinese Taipei in Group D of the men’s draw. While both Macau and Vietnam are below India in the medals tally currently, Chinese Taipei is placed just above Indian and Sharath Kamal and co will be raring to change that.

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