India’s highest-ranked table tennis paddler and captain of Warriors TTC, Achanta Sharath Kamal, put on a performance laced with grit and determination to prevail against India’s second-highest ranked paddler and captain of the Dabang Smashers, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran. In the process, Sharath managed to surpass legend Kamlesh Mehta’s long-standing record of eight National Championship titles, clinching his ninth overall.
The veteran from Chennai had already written his name in history books when he matched the national record last year after beating Amalraj Anthony in the finals. This year, when Sharath met Sathiyan in the finals, it was harder to pick sides than the last time around, as Sathiyan too has really upped his game in the past year, matching the senior athlete toe-to-toe. But in the end, Sharath relied on his abundant experience to get him across the line, as he turned the match around winning the final 4-3, coming back from a 2-3 deficit after the fifth game.
In an excerpt from his post match interview with the TTFI, Sharath mentioned how hard it was to reach the pinnacle. “The pressure was on both of us. But whatever I did to take the ninth title off my mind, it was coming back again and again with everyone remembering me. Similarly, Sathiyan was going for his first title and he was equally pressured,” said Sharath.
Sharath has constantly reinvented himself over the years to keep up with the competition, and this record has been a crowning glory for one of India’s most decorated Table Tennis players. With the way he is playing, there is definitely more to come from the genius, and we wish him all the best as he continues to blaze a trail!