Sharath Kamal ACHANTA

India IND

Table Tennis

  • Games participations
    4
  • First Olympic Games
    Athens 2004
  • Year of Birth
    1982
Olympic Results

Biography

Sharath Kamal ACHANTA

With four Commonwealth Games golds, two Asian Games medals, four Olympic Games appearances and two ITTF Pro Tour titles under his belt, Sharath Kamal is arguably the best Indian table tennis player in history.

Achanta Sharath Kamal was born on July 12, 1982, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, a city known for its table tennis prowess and multiple national champions.

Table tennis was in the family genes and that helped. Sharath’s father Srinivasa Rao and uncle Muralidhar Rao had played the game in their prime before shifting to coaching youngsters.

Sharath Kamal was introduced to the game at the age of four. However, he found the age-group categories challenging and faced a tough decision when he was 15 - he either had to continue his studies to eventually become an engineer or become a professional table tennis player.

Sharath Kamal chose table tennis and now hails it as one of the most important decisions of his career.

His father and uncle began coaching the youngster, but Sharath still found it tough to make an impression at the national level. Despite an aggressive playing style he lacked consistency.

The national call-up finally came on the eve of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, where he was selected for a 16-member probables training camp. It was the break Sharath Kamal needed to launch his career at the age of 20.

The experience at the camp gave him confidence and the exposure to top-level players made him better. Sharath Kamal made it to the final of the national championships in 2002 and though he lost, he was soon drafted into the national team.

Sharath Kamal won his first national title in 2003 and his first international medal at the 2004 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships. His career graph reached a new high when he qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Sharath Kamal did not look back after that point. He was conferred the Arjuna Award in 2004 and won five national titles in-a-row. A historic singles gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and another gold in the men’s team event capped a successful year.

He also played in Sweden for international exposure and practice, eventually making his way to Germany, where he played in the Bundesliga. This top-tier table tennis league in Germany opened up several other European avenues.

In 2010, Sharath Kamal became the first Indian table tennis player to win an ITTF Pro Tour title, when he won the Egypt Open, beating Hong Kong’s Li Ching in the final.

Sharath Kamal went on to win two more Commonwealth Games gold medals in 2010 - in the men’s team and men’s doubles. He endured a lean period for a couple of years, winning no titles or medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games or Asian Games, and was also unable to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

However, he arrested that slump by qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics and Sharath Kamal’s finest moment arrived soon after.

A medal in every event he competed in, Sharath Kamal won a gold, silver and two bronze medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He also went on to win two bronze medals at the 2018 Asian Games.

In 2019, the veteran Sharath Kamal rose to a career-best ranking of world No. 30 and in the same year, won a record ninth national title, beating Kamlesh Mehta’s two-decade-long record of eight victories.

In 2020, at the age of 37, Sharath Kamal finally won his second international title at the Oman Open, a decade after his first. 

At Tokyo 2020, in what was his fourth Olympic appearance, Sharath Kamal beat Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia 4-2 in the second round after getting a bye in the first.

The Indian veteran then lost 4-1 to Chinese legend and eventual gold-medallist Ma Long but had put in a fighting performance, making Long work hard for his win.

Despite his age, Sharath Kamal has shown no signs of slowing down, winning bronze in the men’s team and men’s doubles events at the 2021 Asian Table Tennis Championships.

With his supreme fitness and consistency on his side, Sharath Kamal will surely be gunning for a spot at the next Olympics in Paris 2024.

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Tokyo 2020

#=17
Men's Singles
Men's Singles Table Tennis
#=9
Mixed Doubles
Mixed Doubles Table Tennis
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Rio 2016

#=49
Singles
Singles Table Tennis
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Beijing 2008

#=33
Singles
Singles Table Tennis
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Athens 2004

#=33
Singles
Singles Table Tennis

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