Sharath Kamal becomes first Indian paddler to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

Doha, 18 Mar: The seasoned Achanta Sharath Kamal on Thursday became the first Indian paddler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games after a dominant win over Pakistan’s Muhammad Rameez at the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament in Doha.

The veteran Indian thrashed Rameez 11-4, 11-1, 11-5, 11-4 in little over 22 minutes in the second men’s singles round-robin match in the South Asia group.

Kamal had lost his opening match 9-11, 13-15, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 8-11 to compatriot Gnansekaran Sathiyan.

The win over Rameez ensured at least a second-place finish for Kamal and it was enough to secure a spot in the delayed Games, scheduled to begin in July.

One quota is awarded to the highest-ranked second-placed player in the event. Sharath being the top-ranked player in the group, secured the berth under the Asian quota.

It will be Kamal’s fourth appearance at the Olympic Games. (PTI)