31 May 2017

One match that table tennis fanatics in Düsseldorf are looking forward to this evening is Men's doubles round of 32 between the pair of India's Sharath Kamal/Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Timo Boll/Ma Long at 16:45 on Table 1. Wondering why?

By Neha Aggarwal

Sharath has been playing for the club Borussia Düsseldorf since the last five years, the 2016-17 season is his sixth year in the European league. He enjoys tremendous support from the German fans, specially in the city of Düsseldorf.

On the other hand, Timo boll needs no introduction, he is the heart and soul for German table tennis fans.

Today, 31st May 2017, Kamal and his partner Sathiyan are scheduled to compete against the German superstar Timo Boll and his celebrity parter Ma Long, the Olympic and World Champion in the Men’s Doubles round of 32 at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships.

For the fans, it’s a treat to watch their home players fighting against each other.

Ahead of this match, Kamal revealed that the German fans are eagerly looking forward to this match.

“Timo and I are teammates, for Borussia Düsseldorf, and because we are playing against each other this evening, there is a lot of buzz in Düsseldorf for this match. A lot of people are asking me the match timings and saying that they would like to watch the match!”- Sharath Kamal Achanta

In the last few years, the German fans have developed a special love for the Indian. ” The fans love me there for who I am. They love my playing style, I give a lot of energy which they simply enjoy. I won many important matches, and I always make the game fun to watch by expressing my emotions whole heartedly, unlike the Europeans,” he explained the reasons of the special stardom.

The fans have also changed sides for the Indian, who considers Düsseldorf his second home.

“In the 2014 Men’s World Cup in Düsseldorf, I was playing against Dimitrij Ovtcharov and I was surprised by the support from Germans. There I was in Germany, playing against a German, but the fans were cheering for me!! That was very very special,” says Kamal.

Now the question remains that whom will the fans cheer for? Timo Boll and Ma Long are a celebrity pair, but again, everyone likes to cheer for an underdog, and upsets and surprises are part of the game.

Kamal was seen signing autographs post his Men’s singles round of 128 match. The fans kept on cheering ‘Let’s go Kamal, let’s go’ in a rhythmic tone which clearly gave him a morale boost. “Because of Timo’s popularity, we too enjoy the attention by the fans.”

” I hope in the evening, I am signing more autographs than Timo himself”- Sharath Kamal Achanta

Watch the match LIVE on at 16:45 local time on table one to find out!

Liebherr 2017 World Championships ma long Timo Boll Sathiyan Gnanasekaran Sharath Kamal Achanta

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