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Sharath eyeing top 50 ranking and Beijing Olympics berth

Chennai, Feb 04 (UNI) Buoyed by his four title triumphs in the just concluded senior national championships, Tamil Nadu's Achantha Sharath Kamal is eyeing a top 50 finish in 2008 and a berth for this year's Beijing Olympics from the Asia quota.

Talking to reporters hours before his departure to Spain for training for the upcoming World Championship and the all-important Olympic Qualifiers next month, Sharath, ranked 79 in the world, said he was planning to finish the year among the top 50.

''For this I have to come out with consistent performances, beat top 20 players in two or three tournaments. I need to play some good game to finish on top 50'', he added.

However, in the next two months, where he would playing two big events back to back -- the World championship in China (February 24 to March 2) and the Olympic qualifiers at Hong Kong from March 6 to 11 and a couple of tournaments -- Sharath did not see a drastic jump in his rankings as he would be playing against those who were equal to him.

''I am planning to play ten international tournaments this year and I need to dish out some upset wins against some top players to achieve the target of finishing among top 50'', he added.

Stating that his six-month training at Spain has shown a lot of improvement in his performance and led to winning four golds for the first time in the nationals at Siliguri a couple of days ago, the 26-year-old paddler said he was looking for an Olympic berth from Asian Quota this time.

A finish among the top seven in the Olympic qualifiers would give him a berth to Beijing from the Asia quota. ''For the 2004 Olympics in Athens, I qualified from South Asia quota, finishing 11th in the qualifiers''.

''This year, I have a good chance of finishing among top seven and earn an Asia quota for Olympics'', he said and added about 30 countries would participate in it.


Story first published: Monday, February 4, 2008, 18:07 [IST]
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