An Olympian is a young boy’s idol. And suddenly, the lad comes face to face with his hero. Not anywhere else, but in a competition. The youngster is naturally delighted and overawed too. That’s exactly what happened to the young and extremely talented 14-year-old Bengal paddler Anirban Ghosh.
The sub-junior champion who lives in Naihati, an hour’s drive from Kolkata, and is a 9th standard student of Naihati Narendra Vidyaniketan is an admirer of Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal, who won the national singles title.
For Anirban, the frail-built barely 5-feet lad, Sharath is an idol. But as luck would have it, Anirban put up some splendid displays even in the senior category and as fate would have it, Anirban clashed with Sharath in the semi-finals.
Anirban was blushing more than playing. Of course, Sharath toyed with young Anirban who was surely overawed by the occasion but came off a lot more cheerful after the wonderful experience.
Anirban failed to bring in the element of surprise that he showed in the quarter-finals. Even before Anirban could settle down, the top-seeded Sharath finished the first game, allowing his opponent just a solitary point. Anirban remained flashier in the rest of the match but Sharath went about his job methodically to wrap up the match quickly.
“It was great just to stand across the table and face my hero,” Anirban said.
He is coached by two brothers, Amit and Sumit Mukherjee. Amit has accompanied the team to Bangalore. “Yes, he has lot of talent. He is just 14. I have great hopes on him,” said Amit.