Sharath Kamal gets official confirmation of Tokyo qualification

Top Indian table tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal got a shot in the arm ahead of the 2021 Olympics when it was officially confirmed on Saturday that he had qualified for the quadrennial event in the men’s singles category.

The Chennai-based player, who rose two spots in the ITTF world rankings on Saturday, tweeted “Official confirmation of qualification in the Men’s Singles event for the @Tokyo2020 Olympic Games with the most recent rankings released by @ittfworld. Happy to rise a couple of places to 30th.”

The top-ranked India player had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics last month when he had beaten Pakistan’s Rameez Muhammad in the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament at Doha, but the confirmation about his qualification has come a fortnight later.

This will be Sharath Kamal’s fourth Olympic Games in men’s singles, having competed in the quadrennial Games for the first time in 2004 Athens, where India’s shotgun shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had won the silver medal in double trap.

The 38-year-old Sharath Kamal’s preparations for Tokyo were badly impacted due to the Covid-19 pandemic but he returned to the table after a gap of nearly a year to compete at the WTT Contender Doha. That gave him the confidence to compete in the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament, also in Doha last month, and make a strong bid to qualify for Tokyo.