New Delhi, April 28 | Achanta Sharath Kamal, India’s ace table tennis player, believes Tokyo Olympics will be his best ever major competition.
“My body is responding to high intensity training. I have got vast experience in handling pressure and all sorts of distractions. The blend of experience and mental strength has added to my confidence,” said the 38-year-old international from Chennai during an online media interaction on Wednesday.
The Tokyo Games will be Kamal’s fourth successive Olympics. He first participated in an Olympic Games in 2004 in Athens.
According to the seasoned table tennis player, the confidence has grown because he is ranked world No 32 in the men’s singles event.
“Six months before the Rio Olympics, I was supposed to be enjoying good fitness. But injury spoiled my preparation. This time I’ve been very consistent over the last 2-3 years, which has built inner strength. I got a medal in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. I got a medal in the Jakarta Asian Games. The next target is the Olympics,” he added.
After the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted training in the first half of 2020, Kamal said he resumed training in September.
“There was uncertainty around us. But we tried to control things that were within our reach. We started with small goals. Achieved them. It made us strong and we moved on gradually,” he added.
Kamal says things aren’t just going on expected lines but are slightly better than last year.
“We have started our preparation for the Olympics in Chennai. It might not be the best way but whatever we can do, we are trying. The focus again is on small goals. I wanted to go to Pune to train with Manika Batra for a mixed team event for 5-6 sessions a month but couldn’t go due to lockdown. Then she had to come to Chennai for training. There are restrictions but we are working to achieve the best result,” he added.