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Updated: January 18, 2011 23:16 IST

‘I am hoping for direct qualification'

Principal Correspondent
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Sharath.
The Hindu Sharath.

Achanta Sharath Kamal, who had a fairly successful 2010, is hoping to build on it by gaining a direct berth in the Olympics.

“I am hoping for a direct qualification into the main draw of the 2012 London Olympics. It looks a reality now as I have moved into the top-40 of the world rankings,” said Sharath, who enjoys a career-best ranking of 39.

“The top-28 get a direct entry into the Olympics main draw. I can secure a place if I am able to sustain my ranking around 40,” he added.

Each country is allowed a maximum of two players in the Olympics main draw. The two-player rule will force a lot of eliminations as countries like China, Japan and Korea have quite a few players in the top-30. “Realistically, if my ranking is around 40, I can fancy my chances of gaining a direct entry,” said Sharath.

In a bid to protect his ranking, the player has planned his itinerary accordingly. “I am trying pick up those tournaments in the pro-tour which have a better field, allowing me to defend points and keep my ranking safe,” said Sharath, whose best in the pro-tour came with Egypt Open triumph in July last year.

“The best is to play the pro-tour in the period between March to May as the Olympics main draw direct entries are scheduled to be decided in June this year,” Sharath said. “If that happens, I will have one full year to prepare for the Olympics.” About his progress in the world rankings, the player said the financial support that came with the Commonwealth Games build-up had helped him enter the big pro-tour events.

“The challenge is to sustain my pro-tour participation when the financial support is no longer there,” he said, adding that he would try to arrange alternate funding to participate in pro-tour events of his choice.

Paying off

It has been five years since India's highest-ranked player ever has shifted base to Europe to get a feel of the pro-tour. Initially, he played in Spain before moving to Germany late last year.

Now playing for TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen, the second best club in Germany, Sharath said playing in the Bundesliga and European Champions League was paying dividends.

“The good thing about training there is that I interact with the top players of the world. Everyone has his own set of goals, but we all work together to improve our game,” he said.

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Common guys you don't who Sharath is?? He is one of the top table tennis players of India. It is not correspondent's fault but your fault for lack of knowledge of sports other than cricket. This is the reason India's poor performance in olympics.

from:  Prateek
Posted on: Jan 20, 2011 at 13:12 IST

Look at the positive side of not mentioning the game Sharath is playing.People will google about him and find out more about him and the sport.Also knowledge gained after putting in some efforts(read googling) stays with you for a long time. Also hope that the above three comments questioning the game that Sharath plays are all sarcastic if not god save other Indian sports apart from cricket!

from:  Viswesh
Posted on: Jan 19, 2011 at 22:41 IST

Hello! Am I mistaken or is it that I am missing out on what game Sharth Kamal plays? I read through the article and could not find any mention of what he was supposed to get into the main draw of the Olympics for. Only the keywords at the bottom were a giveaway. This is not the first time that I have spotted this in the Hindu. The mention of the sport would come either at the very end, which many readers may not even come to, or just not at all. Please understand that the articles are not only for the knowledgeable but also for the newbies.

from:  Bhamini Gopal
Posted on: Jan 19, 2011 at 11:31 IST

IN this entire article no where was mentioned which sport this guy plays. It's surprising to find such an article from the principal correspondent. It's frustrating to find out which sport Mr Sharath plays only after doing ctrl+f on the page.

from:  Rana
Posted on: Jan 19, 2011 at 10:11 IST

Which sport does Sharath represent? Can you please make the news explicit? Table Tennis or Badminton or snooker?

from:  Ganesan
Posted on: Jan 19, 2011 at 01:16 IST
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