INDIA: Indian table tennis legend Achanta Sharath Kamal will stay with table tennis record champions Borussia Düsseldorf for another year. The club and the leading Indian paddler have agreed to extend the contract, which will remain till the end of the season. This completes the squad for the new season upcoming ahead, 2021-22.
“Sharath is a great person and a great table tennis player. I am therefore very pleased to have a legend like him with us for another year. The discussion about continuing the cooperation did not last long, then it was clear: We will continue together,” said the manager, Andreas Prussia.
“He completes the team, like last time as a substitute player, and will not be in all games. We are planning to make selective missions to relieve our regular staff”, he added. These include former World No.1, Timo Boll, Kristian Karlsson, Anton Källberg and newcomer Dang Qiu.
Since 2013, India’s top paddler, 38-years-old, Achanta has been part of the Ensemble of Borussia Dusseldorf, only interrupted by the one-year guest performance in Bergneustadt 2017-18, and has played a huge part, a vital role in numerous titles during this time. Achanta greatest dream came true this season when he won the Champions League for the first ever time with Borussia, something none of the Indian table tennis players had ever achieved before. However, he could not participate in the tournament of the European premier class, which took place in Düsseldorf in December, because he was not allowed to travel from India due to the conditions of COVID-19. Moreover, Achanta hopes that he will be back at the table for his Borussia in the new season.
“I am extremely happy to continue to be part of the team. Borussia is definitely my second home and I don’t know if I can ever play for another club because I’ll always be a borusse,” said Sharath Achanta . “And I very much hope that I can be more frequent in Dusseldorf and on the team in the next upcoming season than last time by the travel restrictions. I want to support the guys and help make it a successful year again”, he added.
Borussia’s long-time favorite is still one of the best in its field. Achanta is currently number 32 in the world rankings and is looking forward to its fourth Olympic Games this summer after 2004, 2008 and 2016. With Borussia Düsseldorf, the father of two has won the Champions League once, has won five cups and four championship titles – another one could be added this season in the TTBL final on June 6th. The “Indian Tiger” has played 115 games for the state capitals so far, of which he has won 73.
In addition to professional sport, Achanta launched a humanitarian aid campaign in his hometown of Chennai at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis to be there for those in need. To this day, the popular figure is fighting for the survival of the poorest – a fight that is becoming more difficult every day due to the spreading COVID-19 pandemic in India.