CHENNAI: Sharath Kamal, who has been flying India's flag high on the international table tennis circuit for over a decade, says he is far from done and is aiming to win a gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The Chennai-based paddler said he still has some important goals to achieve till the 2020 Olympics and has not made up his mind on taking up coaching after his playing career.
Sharath feels he is on the up since the Rio Olympics last year and hopes to keep improving in his bid to win singles gold at the Commonwealth Games for the second time.
Besides winning the singles gold in Melbourne 2006, he won the yellow metal in the men's doubles in the following edition in Delhi alongside Subhajit Saha.
"After the Olympics in Rio, my performance has been on an upswing. I reached the quarterfinal in the Austrian Open, won the Indian championships for a seventh time and made it to semifinal at the Indian Open in Delhi in February this year. In the recent Asian Championships, the team won the gold in the first division and in singles I reached the round of last 16 for the first time in my career," Sharath told PTI.
He further said, "this has been the best part of my career as far as performance is considered and I am hoping to keep the graph going up and would like to win back the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games."
Sharath, the highest ranked Indian at 54, recently launched a coaching programme at a school in the city in association with Borussia Dusseldorf, the club he represents in the German league. About the project aimed at promoting the game in schools, he said Borussia Dusseldorf has been doing social projects in Germany for many years and wanted to have one in a developing country like India to uplift society through sport.
He said in the first year, the club will be funding the project which is primarily infrastructure building and setting it up.
The aim was to help build table tennis at the grass-root level and "if time permits" Sharath would like to take it to government schools.
On plans to start a coaching academy of his own some time in the future, Sharath said, "I still haven't decided on my coaching plans but all that I know for now is that I will stay with the game in some sort or another.
"Table tennis is my identity and I have got a lot from this sport so I would like to give back to the sport