CWG 2022: Sharath Kamal’s legend grows by the day | Commonwealth Games 2022 News – Times of India

Evergreen table tennis star, all of 40 and still going strong, wins singles gold after 16 long years
BIRMINGHAM: It’s 13 Commonwealth Games medals, including seven gold. Birmingham 2022 tally: three gold, one silver.
The legend of Achanta Sharath Kamal grows by the day. He is ageing like a fine wine.
What else can you say, considering the 40-year-old enjoyed his best-ever CWG over the past week or so.
To top it all, the Commonwealth men’s singles title is back with him after a gap of 16 years. He held it last in 2006 at Melbourne.

Monday was going to be a test for those ageing muscles, creaking joints. After all, he had played three extremely draining matches in the past 24 hours. The singles semifinal, the doubles final and the mixed doubles final.
Between him and the singles gold stood Englishman Liam Pitchford, ranked No.20 in the world and one who had the bragging rights going into the final having put it across Sharath in the men’s doubles.
Pitchford, 29, surely had the advantage of age on his side. But experience-wise, Sharath was second to none.
While Pitchford had the confidence of winning the men’s doubles on Sunday, Sharath had claimed the mixed doubles title alongwith Sreeja Akula the same day.

It all boiled down to the fact whether Pitchford could stretch Sharath, extend it as far as possible. Then those creaky joints, tired legs, fatigued muscles would’ve played a part and possibly tilt the balance in the Englishman’s favour.
Initially, Pitchford made all the right noises and took the first game from Sharath 13-11. At this juncture, the advantage was clearly with Pitchford. For Sharath to win the match, he had to go the aggressive route. And he did just that, reeling off points at will, firing winners from both sides, to clinch the next four games 11-7, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8. The gold was his now.
It has been an exhausting campaign for Sharath, and that was reflective when he brought his own chair into the mixed zone for the interviews.
“I have no energy left. I am drained. I feel like the orange is completely squeezed, the juice is completely out, but it’s been a fantastic two weeks,” he said, while talking to TOI.

The jitters of a 40-year-old body, performing successfully for so many years at the highest level, is surely felt and Sharath acknowledged that.
“My body was not in the best shape, but that’s normal as I played 12 games in three days back to back,” he said.
With his best CWG being the Birmingham 2022 Games, Sharath’s spirits are higher than ever before.
“The best two weeks of my 40 years of life. It can’t get better. Maybe, the (men’s) doubles gold, but I can’t be so greedy,” Sharath said.
“Of all three golds, the first one meant the most as it was the team (one) and that gave me a lot of confidence and momentum for the other events.”
Singles bronze for Sathiyan
Before Sharath’s final, G Sathiyan secured the singles bronze after a marathon battle against Pitchford’s doubles partner and country mate Paul Drinkhall.

It was Sathiyan’s first CWG singles medal as he won 4-3 (11-9, 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9) in front of a packed home crowd. The bronze was Sathiyan’s sixth overall CWG medal since Gold Coast 2018.

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