Star Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal has become the first player from the country to get elected in the Athletes’ Commission of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Eight athletes (four male and as many female) were elected from Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Oceania and will serve in the Athletes’ Commission for four years from 2022 to 2026.
The ace paddler from India got 187 votes, the second-highest number, behind Elizabeta Samara of Romania, who received 212 votes, the difference of a mere 8.83 per cent votes polled from their continents — Asia and Europe — respectively.
Talking of the international honour, Sharath, a multiple Commonwealth Games medallist, felt humbled and happy to know that he got the highest number of votes from Asia, ahead of other candidates from the continent.
Liu Shiwen, elected from the female quota, is the other Asian on the Commission, but the Chinese managed only 153 votes.
“I am bowled over and humbled by the recognition. I thank the whole of Asia and all the voters for showering such affection with faith and the CoA (Committee of Administrators) for forwarding my name to ITTF,” said Sharath in a release issued by Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).
In the November 7 to 13 polling, 283 athletes voted to elect eight candidates from different regions, indicating an increase of 18 per cent, compared to 240 in 2018, and the growing popularity and relevance of the Commission.
Besides the eight athletes, two para-athletes will also serve the four-year term.
Sharath will be honoured with the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sports recognition, later this month.
The 40-year-old is also the vice-chairman of the Athletes’ Commission of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). He is one of the 10 eminent athletes elected a couple of days ago to the national Olympic body that goes to polls next month.
Elected Athletes: Elizabeta Samara (ROU), Achanta Sharath Kamal (IND), Daniely Rios (PUR), Omar Assar (EGY), Melissa Tapper (AUS), Stefan Fegerl (AUT), Jon Persson (SWE), and Liu Shiwen (CHN).
Elected Para-Athletes: Ingela Lundback (SWE) and Kelly van Zon (NED).
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