Sharath is the top-ranked Indian again
New Delhi, May 17: A. Sharath Kamal, after hovering between early to mid-30s, grabbed the No. 31 spot to be the top Indian paddler in world ranking, according to the latest list released by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Sharath, who was lagging few slots behind G. Sathiyan for quite some time, just went past him by a place, leaving the latter at No. 32. In fact, Sharath has jumped seven spots after having been resting at No. 38 in February 2020.
This may be attributed to the last competition that Sharath had participated—the Challenge Plus Oman Open event at Muscat in March—winning the men singles title to garner the maximum (1110) to log 6460 points.
With no immediate competitive event possible in the near future because of the SARS-CoV-2, leading to worldwide cancellation/postponement of sporting events, the nine-time national champion is most likely to stay in limelight for quite some time.
Meanwhile, Sathiyan who was ranked No. 24 in July 2019, dropped to No. 32 having failed to win any title between January and March 2020, when ITTF dropped all international events because of COVID-19. The -Chennai based player was at No. 31 on March 2, 2020.
Sathiyan’s 720 points, earned from the Hungarian Open when he lost to Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan in the pre-quarterfinals, did not push him down much.
Subsequently, the paddler skipped other World Tour events to concentrate on preparation for the Tokyo Olympics qualifications in Thailand in April. All events, including the Olympics, have been either postponed or cancelled since, leaving little scope for players the world over to improve their world rankings.
Manika Batra, who is at No. 63 according to the latest ranking list, too the same number of points as did Sathiyan during the Hungarian Open. But Indian, who was No. 67 in February had jumped five places after the Budapest event to be at No. 62, before dropping a spot as per the April rankings.
But for now, these rankings will stay and for quite a while until ITTF resumes World Tour events, redrawing the calendar for the reminder of 2020.