CHENNAI: India’s ace paddler from Tamil Nadu, K Shamini, fresh from her splendid show earlier this month in Malaysia at the World Table Tennis championship, is a busy girl. She is slogging it out in Germany preparing for the Rio Games qualifiers, which will take place at Hong Kong in May this year.
Shamini’s performance in the second league, which helped her gain 45 places in the charts, has the backing of none other than Sharath Kamal, an ace player who has been silently helping her with training.
“The Malaysia experience was very good. It was one of my best tournaments and I consider it a great achievement,” said Shamini. “Yes, we expected to qualify for the championship division and we prepared really hard for this tournament. I am excited to move 45 places ahead and my current ranking is 183.’’
On the advice of her coach A Srinivasa Rao, she decided to train at Germany. “There, the club league is strong and the work ethic is good for a person preparing for tough qualifiers,’’ said Rao.
In Germany, Shamini is playing for Topedo Gottingen club. “I have been training in Germany for quite some time. Last year, I played for the same club that Sharath played for. This year, I am with Topedo Gottingen... I began training a week back and will train till the Rio qualifiers start.”
Shamini says agility is one area that she is working on, as the game is all about speed. “Footwork and being quick are the key areas that I am working on here. Peter Engel has been training me in a systematic manner and has brought about positive changes in my game. I feel lucky to train with him,” explained Shamini.
She is aware that Olympics qualifier will be tough, but is prepared for the grind.
“I think this stint is good preparation for Olympics and I hope to give the best shot in the qualifiers,” said Shamini.
Shamini played a key role in notching up eight wins for team India during the championships to finish with a gold and also helped India secure a place in the next world championship in 2018.