With the Tokyo Games pushed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 scare, India’s ace paddler is hoping to stay active till the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
At 37, the Indian paddler was expecting the Tokyo Games to be his swansong, but with Tokyo 2020 pushed by a year, Sharath Kamal is now contemplating a prolonged delay to any retirement plans.
“If I manage to make the cut for Tokyo next year, only six months or so will be left for the next edition of the Commonwealth Games,” he was quoted as saying by the New Indian Express.
“I can play there as I will be in shape. What happens after that, my wife will decide.”
Though on the face of it, the thought seems to be a long shot, especially with the 2022 Commonwealth Games scheduled for 27 July 2022, the Chennai player isn’t ruling out the possibility. But he admits there are other factors involved as well.
“I know how my body responds now and it takes me two months to prepare for a major competition physically,” he said.
“Then comes the sharpness on the table with regards to feet movement. After those two aspects, I need to focus on my playing style which means fine-tuning both my forehand, backhand as well as working on service. Depending on when the worldwide situation comes under control, I need to plan my schedule accordingly,” he explained.
With the season suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Sharath Kamal has been enjoying some unexpected downtime at his home in Chennai.
Though he would have enjoyed being on the tour and continue his preparations for the Olympics, Sharath Kamal seems to be taking the isolation period in his stride.
“To tell you the truth, such a long period where my entire family is free has not been the case for a long time. Maybe at the start of my career, we had such extensive off-seasons,” he said.
“But in this day and age, the calendar hardly gives players time to just sit and talk with family without the pressure of having to decide what's next.
“I see a lot of negativity around during these testing times. I understand it is a very difficult time for all, but we must not forget what is most dear to us -- our family. Getting this time with them is truly a blessing.”
With nothing but his two kids to bother him during the lockdown period, Sharath Kamal is ensuring that he makes the most of the moments before the tour resumes.