36th National Games: Veteran Table Tennis star Sharath Kamal on what keeps him going

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“The
World
championships
are
being
held
at
the
same
time
as
the
National
Games.
So,
the
organisers
conducted
the
Table
Tennis
event
here
a
bit
early.
It
is
really
nice
of
them,
and
we
also
appreciate
and
feel
good
about
playing
our
matches.
It
is
a
good
practise
for
our
World
championships,”
said
Sharath,
who
is
40-years-old
now.

“I
last
played
the
National
Games
in
2011
and
now
I
have
come
to
play
another
edition.
It
feels
nice
to
see
the
arrangements
here,
not
only
for
the
top-level
players
but
also
for
all
players
present
here,”
said
Sharath
who
bagged
three
gold
and
a
silver
in
the
2022
Commonwealth
Games,
proving
that
age
is
just
a
number.

The
10-time
National
champion
has
been
going
strong
despite
the
rise
of
many
young
stars
in
Indian
Table
Tennis.
He
insists
that
setting
goals
and
trying
to
set
higher
targets
after
every
achievement
has
been
his
recipe
for
success.

“All
these
years
I
set
up
a
goal
and
I
work
for
it.
After
the
2016
Olympic
Games,
I
felt
that
I
have
to
perform
better
in
Asian
Games
2018
and
after
that
in
2020
Olympics
the
target
was
to
win
a
medal
but
I
lost
in
the
round
of
32.
I
am
able
to
set
targets
and
that
is
helping
me
work
in
right
direction,”
he
said.

“There
is
always
this
goal
that
if
I
missed
out
on
something
I
get
the
chance
to
do
it
later.
For
example,
I
won
the
singles
medal
in
2006
and
when
I
won
a
bronze
in
2018,
I
wished
I
had
won
gold,”
said
Sharath,
who
regained
that
title
in
Birmingham
this
year
apart
and
also
clinched
the
mixed
doubles
and
team
gold
medals.

Sharath’s
next
target
is
try
and
make
to
the
podium
at
the
Olympic
Games
and
he
feels
that
the
first
step
towards
that
goal
is
for
the
Indian
team
to
qualify
for
Paris
2024.

“In
2024,
we’ll
try
to
qualify
as
the
men’s
team
has
a
good
chance
to
win
a
medal.
We
missed
out
on
qualifying
the
last
time
but
now
I
think
we
have
a
good
momentum.
If
we
keep
it
up,
we’ll
qualify
for
Olympics
as
well
and
we
hope
we
win
medals
in
that
as
well,”
he
said.

Sharath
also
expressed
happiness
over
the
way
Indian
Table
Tennis
has
developed
in
the
last
few
years.

“For
nearly
14
or
15
years,
I
was
alone
in
terms
of
playing
internationally
and
winning
top
level
events.
But
since
2016,
a
lot
of
difference
can
be
seen
thanks
to
Government
and
Federation’s
support,”
he
said.

“We
now
have
many
players
who
are
talented
and
if
we
continue
to
grow
at
this
pace,
we
can
become
an
outstanding
nation
in
Table
Tennis.”

Source:
Media
Release

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