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Sharath Kamal: The highest-ranked Indian Table Tennis player

Achanta Sharath Kamal is a professional Table Tennis player hailing from Tamil Nadu, India. The veteran is the first Table Tennis player to win the Senior National Championships nine times. He broke the record of the eight times National Champion, Kamlesh Mehta. The Arjuna Award recipient recently received the fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri. 

The right-handed paddler has added several victories to his name. A few of them are- 4 Commonwealth Gold medals ( 1 in singles and 3 in the team event), 2 Asian Games bronze medals (Singles and Mixed Doubles). Moreover, he represented India in three editions of the Olympics (2004, 2008, 2016).

Recently, the 38-year-old has added one more title to his name. The triumph at the 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Oman Open, his first title in almost 10 years helped him regain the top spot among Indian Table Tennis players. In the final, he beat Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the top seed (6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9, 3-11, 17-15), to claim the title.

The previous success came in the 2010 ITTF World Tour Egypt Open in Cairo when Sharath Kamal beat Li Ching of Hong Kong China to become the first Indian player to win an ITTF World Tour title or Pro Tour as it was known in those days.

He climbed seven spots to 31 in the recent men’s singles ranking and fell just one short of his best-ever ranking in the World. Doing so, the ace paddler surpassed compatriot Gnanasekaran Sathiyan to become the highest-ranked Indian paddler as Sathiyan had dropped down a place after he had decided to skip the Oman Open and had earlier bowed out of the Qatar Open in the preliminary rounds. The duo had recently broken into men’s doubles top-20 after winning Silver at the Hungarian Open earlier this year.

Achanta has once again earned his time in the spotlight, landing India its first ITTF Challenge Series men’s singles gold since 2017. With the good form and the Olympic qualification in proximity, Sharath Kamal is eager to get into his form once the season presumes for probably his last Olympics. 

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