INDIA: Achanta Sharath Kamal, India’s prominent table tennis player, said he will draw “a lot of positives” from his loss in the third round of the Tokyo Olympic Games to China’s former world No. 1 and three-time world champion Ma Long.
In a match where Ma Long was seen shaking his head in irritation at points, Sharath Kamal put up a valiant fight against the defending Olympic champion, even taking a game from him before falling 1-4 in men’s singles.
“His legs were shaking,” Sharath Kamal, who is competing in his fourth Olympics, said on Tuesday. I could see him trembling. And I was pleased to have been able to place him in that situation.
“As far as this Olympics go, there are a lot of positives for me,” Sharath Kamal, who had reached the Round of 32 at the quadrennial showpiece for the first time, was quoted as saying by olympics.com.
“We were maybe a little unfortunate with the draw, running into the team that won the bronze in the first round of mixed doubles. And facing Long in the third round.”
The scores of 4-11 and 4-11 in the last two games of the match versus Ma Long, according to Sharath Kamal, did not reflect the closeness of the match.
“Against Long, I got myself into a good position. Even the fourth and fifth games were a lot closer than the score suggested. I think after winning the third game he just became a little more relaxed and started going for his shots.”
Sharath, who debuted in the 2004 Athens Olympics, stated that he had no plans to retire.
“I never said this is going to be my last Olympics, it’s mainly the media that has been saying that. I don’t think I have to retire just because I am 38 years of age. This is the most physically fit I have been and it has undoubtedly been my best Olympics. When I look back, there nothing I could have done more or done differently. I have no regrets.”