Sharath Kamal’s secret of longevity ‘discipline, passion’

Sixteen years, five Commonwealth Games (CWG) appearances, 10 medals including five gold, and possibility of more is still there. There are two Asian Games bronze also. It will take some doing to break Sharath Kamal’s record. And he isn’t done yet. After his latest gold in the team event in , Sharath spoke to Boria Majumdar. Excerpts

You are 40 now and still seem to be raising the bar. What’s the secret?

The secret is the tricolour. You just want to do things for your country. When I look back, I think I was able to do this because of my discipline and passion for the sport. There is nothing better than to make your people proud. Here in Birmingham, to be able to defend the team gold meant a lot to us. And when you beat a team like Nigeria 3-0, it is a result to be proud of for it means you are improving and on the right track. Except in the final, we didn’t drop a single match and that’s what consistency is all about.

Tell us about that match against Quadri Aruna of Nigeria. That probably was the turning point.

Yes, it’ll go down as one of the best matches I have played. It’s not an exaggeration. Quadri is a very good player and kept coming back and was continuously threatening my lead. To be able to hold him back and get the win meant a lot to me and to the team. It was an important match and that I was able to win it allowed the team the freedom they needed to close the tie out.

In Tokyo, you played really well against China’s Ma Long. Now you have beaten Quadri Aruna. You seem to be in a good zone mentally and physically.

We had prepared very well for the CWG and I have trained extremely hard to get here. Unless you do so you will never see results. To play this sport is a matter of great pride for me. The match against Ma Long was a very good one but I ended up on the losing side. Here it was good to be able to get past Quadri.

There are three more medals to go. How confident are you about the other events?

It’s all about the preparation and the process. That’s what I am confident about. My training, my discipline, my routine. Also, Sathiyan is playing extremely well. So, we’ve evolved as a team. In the next few days our endeavour will be to add to the first gold medal that we have won and we’re confident we’ll be able to do so.