A whirlwind 2018 for one of India’s most decorated paddlers had something even better in store, as nine-time National Champion Achanta Sharath Kamal was bestowed with the prestigious Padma Shri award.
This civilian honour for the Commonwealth Games’ Gold-medallist comes on the back of a stellar year, where the 36 - year old paddler from Chennai outperformed himself on all fronts, National and International.
The third time was the charm for Sharath, having been nominated twice before, but not making the cut. This time around, though, it was a different scenario, as the veteran forced his way into the reckoning for the award with his performances.
In an excerpt from his interview with The Times of India, Sharath said, “It feels great to get this recognition, especially when you look at others who have been named for Padma Shri. After two failed attempts, I was not sure if I would get this time but considering the year we have had, anything was possible.”
The next and final step for Sharath is something that he has never hidden – an Olympic medal – and the focus is now concentrated to align with the same. “This year, I will be playing more ITTF Pro Tour events (for Olympic qualification in mixed doubles) than be in Germany," he declared in the same interview.
We take this opportunity to wish the ace paddler the best of luck for the same, as he continues to lead India’s charge in this Golden period for Table Tennis.