Sports Champion

Indian @Rio Olympic: Achanta Sharath Kamal

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

Achanta Sharath Kamal was born on 12 July 1982 and he is a professional table tennis player from Tamil Nadu, India. His current world rank is 69nd in the World Rankings as of june, 2016.

Early Life:
He currently lives in Düsseldorf, Germany. Over the past few years he has been playing in the European league. After stints in Spain and Sweden, he is currently playing in the German Bundesliga for the club Borussia Düsseldorf. He is employed with the Indian Oil Corporation as an officer. Sharath is considered to be one of the best table tennis players India has ever produced.

He is an alumnus of PSBB Nungambakkam school (class of 2000) and Loyola College, Chennai.

Career:
He won the men’s singles gold in the 16th Commonwealth table tennis championship held at Kuala Lumpur in 2004. He is a recipient of the Arjuna award for the year 2004.

He has won the US Open Table Tennis Men’s championships held at Grand Rapids, Michigan in July 2010. During the course of the tournament he went on to defeat the defending champion Thomas Keinath of Slovakia in an epic battle of 7 games to win 4-3. In the same year he won the Egypt Open beating Li Ching of Hong Kong in straight sets. Thus becoming first Indian to win a singles title on the ITTF Pro Tour. He also captained the Indian men’s team that won the team title at the same championship by defeating favourites and nine-time champions England.

He also won the gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, beating crowd favourite Australian William Henzell in the final, apart from helping the Indian team clinch gold in the table tennis team event against Singapore. He teamed up with Subhajit Saha to win the Men’s Doubles gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

He represented India in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and is still the top Indian TT player. He also represented the country in the 2006 Asian Games at Qatar.

In the year 2007 he was the first Indian to win the Pyongyong Invitational Tournament held at Pyongyong, North Korea. This was the 21st edition of the tournament which was held in August 2007. His best performance on the world circuit came in the Japan Pro Tour held in June 2007 where he beat World No.19, Lee Jung Woo (South Korea). After this victory he reached his career best ranking of World No. 73 and in January 2011 his ranking is 44. Incidentally, Sharath was also the only Indian Men’s Table Tennis player to be selected for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

In the season 2010-11 he also played in the German major league (Bundesliga) for TSV Gräfelfing and has been one of the best players in the league with wins over top German TT players. He played for SV Werder Bremen in the 2011-12 season. During 2012–13, he played in the Swedish league before returning to Germany in May 2013 to sign for Borussia Düsseldorf. Known as the “Rekordmeisters”, Borussia Düsseldorf is one of the best clubs in Europe. Sharath and the team also won the Deutsche Pokal for the year 2013, a prestigious cup tournament in Germany. Currently the team is ranked second in the Bundesliga season 2013–14.

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