by Simon Daish
For many a year India’s brightest prospects on the international circuit fell solely on the shoulders of Sharath Kamal Achanta, who became the first player from the country to win a singles gold medal on the ITTF World Tour in 2010.
Six years later Sathiyan Gnanasekaran joined Achanta on the list of winners and in 2017 India has captured two Men’s Singles trophies at ITTF Challenge Series events.
Runner up in the Men’s Singles category at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Chile Open, Amalraj Anthony believes that India’s recent success is providing the country’s table tennis stars with the confidence and ambition to compete at a higher level than before.
“Earlier the dream of an Indian paddler was to win a national title and aim for a medal in the Commonwealth Championships. But now we have started winning World Tour medals and are upsetting players from the European circuits.” Amalraj Anthony.
On Tuesday 29th August Anthony received the prestigious Arjuna Award in recognition of his outstanding achievement as an Indian table tennis competitor, an award which has been won by the likes of Sharath Kamal Achanata, Soumyajit Ghosh and Mouma Das in the past.
Now Anthony’s eyes are firmly set on next year’s Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, seeking to approach both events with a positive mentality.
“My next target is the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in 2018. Though I was technically sound, I was mentally weak. At one point in time, I was losing in the semi-finals repeatedly to top players like Sharath Kamal. I sought the help of sports psychologists to overcome my mental barriers.” Amalraj Anthony.