A fitter, trimmer Sharath Kamal has set his eyes firmly on qualifying for the London Olympic Games. For the next six months, the World No. 79 hopes to have a “plan in place” to bring out his best in the upcoming Asian championship, World championship and the Olympic qualifiers before heading for London.
“Before Christmas, I was in an even better shape,” Sharath said on Tuesday, soon after landing here for the National table tennis championship. Sharath is aiming to win his seventh National crown, sixth in succession.
The lanky player believes his bad phase that lasted from March to September 2011 is firmly behind him. “After hitting a frustrating low, I could only move upwards. I owe a lot to my Swedish friend and coach Linus Menstren whose positive approach and belief in my abilities helped me deal with the lows.
“Since August, Linus has been helping me for a week each month and the results are really encouraging,” said Sharath, about the current coach of the Spanish National team.
“I have been working on a plan with Olympics on my mind. But I need to consult our Polish coach Leszek Kucharski and know what he has to say. I am sure I will get some clarity this week,” said Sharath.
Sharath feels he has been getting back to his best form and the appearance in the National championship was sure to test his preparations for the tougher challenges ahead.
“In Europe, players are taking note of the talents like Soumyajit Ghosh, Harmeet Desai and G. Sathiyan. These players will get even better if they get more opportunities to play on the men's Tour. I am sure, this lot is here to stay and serve the country for long,” said Sharath, striking on optimistic chord.
The trio was part of the team that reached the semifinals of the last World junior championship and brought India's first ever team bronze medal from the premier event.
Talking of his own form, Sharath said, “I am playing well. I need to stay consistent and take the confidence into the Asian championship. If I do well in the continental championship, it will help me stay confident all the way to the Olympics. At present, my graph is climbing.”
About his take on the Olympics, Sharath was quick to state, “Realistically, there is no chance of a medal for us. But on a given day, any player can cause surprises. I have to do what I do best and hope for the best results.”