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I will now aim to win medals at world level: Sharath

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Mar 29 (UNI) Commonwealth Games Gold Medal winner A Sharath Kamal has a simple, but seemingly logical answer for the raging debate, whether India must employ foreign coaches, or just our own coaches would do, to elevate our standard in disciplines like table tennis.

''The ideal solution would be having a foreign coach along with our own,'' the 24-year-old Andhra Pradesh paddler, settled in Chennai said at a press conference, after being felicitated by his employer Indian Oil Corporation(IOC) at its regional headquarters here this evening.

''Our coaches teach us the basics and they remain with us throughout. A foreign coach imparts the latest techniques being employed by world class players. But he goes away, while the Indian coaches continue to work with us,'' he reasoned, in response to a question on the subject.

''So it should be a foreign coach along with the Indian coach,'' Sharath said.

The young IOC assistant manager, who has joined the list of India's sporting celebrities in IOC along with the likes of Gopichand(Badminton), Devesh Chauhan (Hockey) and S Raman(Table Tennis), said the dividing line between India's paddlers and top Asian or world class players was thin, even by way of technique.

''We have a mixture of Asian and European techniques,'' he said, adding this makes it easy for us to catch up with them soon.

But the secret is our players have to believe that we can emerge on top, practise, practise and practise with diligence. ''Self belief that we can do it is the panacea,'' Sharath pointed out, in a philosophical vein.

''We have to practise with a commitment,'' he added.

Sharath said he would next focus on improving his world ranking to 120 from 151 at present. ''I can do it by playing in tournaments in America and Europe for six months, after the world team championships in Germany in April. ''It is what(sic) I am going to do,'' Sharath said.

Asked what the expectations are in the world championships, Sharath said with the team playing well, since the last six months in the international arena, the aim would be to move to Division One in the world team championships. ''We will be competing in Division Two. We will have to finish in the top two positions to move to Division One. This is possible, going by the present performance,'' he pointed out.

Sharath said his Gold winning feat in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, would definitely inspire him to greater performances, as he had victories against the defending champion, a higher ranked Nigerian player in the singles event and one of the world's top players of Singapore in the final of the team event.

''This is one of my best performances in my career so far. From here I will now aim to win medals at world level'', he asserted.

''I will train in Europe and America. If I stay there for six months I think I can achieve that,'' he said, adding India's performance in the Commonwealth Games has brought its paddlers into focus at world level.

''The Commonwealth Games have really hit the headlines this time,'' he observed.

Earlier, Sharath was given a tumultuous welcome at the airport, and in the IOC headquarters, where the employees welcomed him, bursting a big round of crackers in the premises, bringing traffic to a grinding halt for a few minutes, on the busy Nungambakkam High Road, where it is located.

Eds here pick up suitably from SPM 2.


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