Achanta Sharath Kamal declares that vicky kaushal he would make a good actor to play him in a biopic about his life. He had been eager to explore the Capital recently, but time was of the essence. This year’s only Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award, the nation’s highest athletic honour, was presented to laureate Padma Shri here; Droupadi Murmu, President of India, attended the occasion.
“It has been a great milestone in my career where a table tennis player is considered the best among all sportsmen. The celebrations, across the country, the table tennis fraternity and members of my own family, have been underway since August. I’m honored to be in that space.”
He says the award comes with a cash prize of $25,000, a medal and a scroll of honor and is given for the sportsman’s most spectacular and outstanding performance over a four-year period. The 40-year-old has learned over the years how to harness the expectations that come with the spotlight in his favor.
2022 brought the peak of Sharath’s career, picking 3 Gold in CWG
“Without [wanting to be] the best, one cannot push the physical and mental limits. That has been my source of motivation in the search for excellence. It has been a very long and illustrious career with its ups and downs. The first big success was when I won the first gold medal for India at the 2006 Commonwealth Games (CWG) and I have continued to scale new heights ever since. The year 2018 was excellent, with three CWG medals and two Asian Games medals. And for me, it is 2022 where I have scaled new peaks in my career with three golds and one silver.”
Says Sharath Kamal
The talented paddler started playing table tennis when he was four years old. He is the son of legendary table tennis coach and Dronacharya Award winner, A Srinivasa Rao. He attributes his early passion for the sport to the city of Chennai, where he was born.
“Chennai has produced the best table tennis athletes since the early 1950s. With such a rich culture and tradition, it was easy for us to embark on a journey in search of excellence. Chennai also has a great club culture that regularly produces champions with friendly rivalry between them.”
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