New Delhi: Veteran Achanta Sharath Kamal will lead a 10-member Indian table tennis team during a training tour of Portugal from July 3 to 10. The tour will be to prepare in a proper manner for the upcoming Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The team consist of five men and as many women paddlers. They will be accompanied by two coaches in Raman Subramanian and Anindita Chakraborty.
Besides Sharath Kamal, the other members of the men’s team are Sanil Shetty, Gunnasekaran Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai and Manush Shah. The members of the women’s squad are Sreeja Akula, Reeth Tennison, Manika Batra, Diya Chitale and Swastika Ghosh.
The Sports Ministry has sanctioned the tour at cost to government subject to clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs.
Sharath Kamal, who will be featuring in his fifth CWG, is the most experienced of the lot. “We have come into the final phase of preparation going into the Commonwealth Games. We will be going for match practice and a training camp in Portugal. The tour will be followed by a WTT tournament in Hungary,” Sharath Kamal said during a virtual press conference organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
“We will be playing in a good international tournament. The camp will help us revaluate our training session and preparations ahead of the Commonwealth Games,” the 39-year-old Sharath Kamal said.
Sharath Kamal may be in the twilight of his career, but he is still India’s best bet in the CWG, having constantly working on his physical fitness and mental health.
“The amount of time I am spending at the gym is much more compared to my table tennis. I am also working on my mental fitness. I am having two fitness sessions and one table tennis session. It changes according to necessity, intensity varies,” Sharath Kamal stated.
The four-time CWG gold medallist will be partnering Sreeja Akula in the mixed doubles. Sharath won a bronze in the last CWG at Gold Coast along with Mouma Das.
“I have always been a team guy which is a very important thing while playing doubles. For me the most important factor is adaptability. I adapt easily which helps me in doubles,” Sharath Kamal informed.
All the players on the tour are part of the Birmingham-bound Indian team picked by the Committee of Administrators.
The Indian table tennis players had won all the team events at the last edition of the CWG. They returned with a haul of three gold, two silver and three bronze.