Sharath Kamal with his CWG gold medal at Birmingham recently. Pic/AFP
At 40, Sharath returned from Birmingham as the most-decorated Indian athlete at the Games, with four medals. Besides a gold medal in the mixed doubles, Sharath also won the singles gold after 16 years, the first coming at the 2006 Melbourne CWG. Having played at the top level for over 20 years, Sharath is in no mood to retire just yet, and is eyeing an Olympic medal. "It feels great to get my personal best in CWG. My highest was three, this time I won a fourth. Fitness is something I*ve been working a lot because the reflexes of youngsters are fast, and I try to be at par so that I can compete with them," Sharath told PTI.
Having claimed a whopping 13 medals from the CWG and two bronze at the 2018 Asian Games, Sharath wants to achieve Olympic success next.
"That hunger to win medals is still there. I want to take two years at a time. Paris  could be a landmark year where we could qualify for the team event, and hopefully, win a medal. It*s a process, first we arrived at the CWG level, then we established ourselves at the Asian level also, so next is the Olympics," said the country*s most celebrated paddler, adding that the landscape of table tennis in India has changed.
"The popularity of table tennis has increased in the country and I am glad that we could inspire a generation of youngsters with our performances. Back then my ranking was 130, and now, it*s 38. I have a player ranked better than me in Sathiyan who is placed at 36th. We never had such highly ranked players," he concluded.
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