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Sharath Kamal bags Oman Open Table Tennis Title

  • Sharath Kamal wins the Oman Open Table Tennis Tournament, his first title on the ITTF World Tour in 10 years
  • India's Medal Prospect regains form before tokyo olympics
Kartik Iyer
CONTRIBUTOR
News
Modified 19 Mar 2020, 19:20 IST

Sharath Kamal - Aiming to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020
Sharath Kamal - Aiming to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020

Assigned by Prasen

What's the story?

India's ace table tennis player Sharath Kamal has bagged the Oman Open 2020 men's singles title. This is his first title in the last 10 years on the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour.

In case you didn't know...

The Oman Open 2020 is an ITTF World Tour Challenge Plus tournament that was staged in Muscat, Oman. It started with a preliminary qualification stage on 11th and 12th March followed by the main event from 13th to 15th March.

The Indian table tennis stars, including Sharath Kamal and Harmeet Desai, used this tournament as a preparation for the World Singles Qualification tournament for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 that is scheduled to be held in Doha, Qatar from 28th to 31st May.

Heart of the matter

Indian table tennis veteran Sharath Kamal rolled back the years to claim his first IITF World Tour title since 2010 as he bagged the men's singles title at the ITTF Challenge Plus Oman Open 2020.

The fourth-seeded Sharath upset the top-seeded Marcos Freitas of Portugal 6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9, 3-11, 17-15 in the final encounter.

Sharath's last title triumph had come in the 2010 Egypt Open when he had defeated Li Ching of Hong Kong China to become the first Indian player to win an ITTF World Tour title.

Although Sharath lost the 1st game in the final encounter, he came back strongly to win the next 3 games. The loss of the 5th game did not deter him as he went on to win a keenly fought 6th game 17-15 to close out the match, four games to two, and with it bagged the much-awaited title.

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After the win, Sharath revealed that it was a tough decision for him to participate in the tournament in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

“I literally had to fight with my wife to participate in the Oman table tennis Open"

Sharath added that the win will be a great morale booster before the qualification tournament for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

“It feels great to win a title even if it is a Challenge Plus event after a long time. Winning a tournament has become tough nowadays. This is a good win before the Olympic qualifiers"

The Indian ace was satisfied with his performance and added that being aggressive helped him get the upper hand.

“It was one of my best games. My shots were landing right. Mainly I was more aggressive and my shots were sharper"

The title triumph worth 800 points is likely to help Sharath jump to 31 or 32 in the World rankings.

“It’s a big jump considering the situation we are in"

Earlier in the day, Sharath had defeated Russia's Kirill Skachkov 11-13, 11-13, 13-11, 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 11-7 in the semifinals. It was a very close encounter with the Indian having to stage a comeback after losing the first two games to finally win the match four games to three.

Freitas had ended the hopes of an all-India final by defeating Harmeet Desai 5-11, 11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-3 in his semi-final encounter. Although Harmeet had taken a lead of three games to one, the Portuguese came back strongly to take the next 3 games and win the encounter four games to three.

Sharath and Harmeet had also reached the men's doubles semi-finals at the tournament before losing in straight games 14-16, 4-11, 7-11 to Aleksandar Karakasevic of Serbia and Lubomir Pistej of Slovakia.

What's next?

The title triumph after 10 long years would have given a lot of confidence to Sharath Kamal. He would like to continue with this momentum in the upcoming World Singles Qualification Tournament for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and qualify for the quadrennial sporting extravaganza.

Also Checkout:  The Full Olympics 2020 Schedule

Published 16 Mar 2020, 11:58 IST
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