At the age of 40, the prestigious Khel Ratna award came quite late for Sharath Kamal, but the star table tennis player on Saturday said the recognition was “better late than never”, and it will inspire him to give one last chance at Olympic glory.
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Sharath was featured on Friday as the sole athlete for this year’s Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award, the nation’s highest athlete, for his stunning performance at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where he won four medals, including three gold and one silver. .
“A really proud moment. At this age it is great to get this award at this age and to inspire so many millions of people in different sports. It’s come quite late in my career, but better late than never,” Sharath told PTI.
“For the amount of sacrifice and work I have put in, especially after 2015 the second phase of my career – the Sharath Kamal 2.0 after the hamstring injury, the increase has grown consistently and exponentially. I am very happy and want to thank my coaches and my supportive thank staff.” “I’m looking forward to the Olympics in Paris and this will really encourage me. Of course the CWG and Tokyo have given me the right direction to get into Paris, and hopefully a medal there is the best thing that can happen to an athlete’s life he added.
Sharath was one of 42 Khel Ratna aspirants this year, including hockey players Harmanpreet Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Savita Punia and Vandana Katariya.
The Khel Ratna was awarded to an unprecedented five athletes in 2020 and 11 last year.
“The journey has been very long and tedious and I am really enjoying it now. The fact that only one Khel Ratna will be given in the committee this year, I was really proud of that decision,” Sharath said.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECVuiTMFfeo” width=”942″ height=”530″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”></iframe> <p>Sharath, who won two bronze medals at the 2018 Asian Games, said it was very pleasing to hear Olympic gold medalist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra acknowledge his achievements.</p> <p>“When I recently met Neeraj Chopra at an awards ceremony, he was like 'bhai apne toh kamal kar diya' (brother you did wonders). When it comes from athletes like him, that's a great feeling," he said.</p> <p>In addition to the Khel Ratna, the award committee chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Justice AM Khanwilkar also recommended 25 athletes for this year's Arjuna. awards including Commonwealth Games singles champion Lakshya Sen, world champion female boxer Nikhat Zareen among others.</p> <p>Read allLatest sports news here