After CWG exploits, Kamal eyes medal at Asian Games

first_imgMumbai, Jun 18 (PTI) India’s ace paddler Sharath Kamal says he is in the “best phase” of his career and is eyeing a medal in the upcoming Asian Games. The continental showpiece is scheduled to be held in Indonesian capital Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2. “We are in the final phase of our preparations, the last two months which will see us play a lot of matches, UTT is here, after this the Australia and Korea Open which are Super Series tournaments,” Sharath told PTI. The multiple Commonwealth Games medallist added, “Preparation has been right on track, confidence is high among the squad. But our main aim at the Asian Games is to get a gold. We’ve always gone on to the quarterfinals but have faltered at that hurdle as it’s really tough. “But this year, if we have a good draw and given our confidence, on aparticular day, we can beat the best in the world,” Kamal told PTI. Sharath excelled in the Commonwealth Games gone by in Gold Coast, winning a gold, silver and bronze medal. The veteran also impressed in the World Championship. “The World Championship was my career’s best performance. The way I played there, all the players from around the world came up to me and congratulated me for the touch I was in. “I made the highest number of points that an individual could ever make, even more than the World Number 1 Ma Long or Timo Boll. “We finished 13th compared to 25th last time. A lot of people have a wrong impression that the World C’ships weren’t as great for us but the comparison is too big, in terms of being the world champions from the CWG champions. Wehad a fantastic run there, personally, moving from 25 to 13 is a great achievement,” he noted.advertisement According to Sharath, the year has been great for him starting from the Qatar Open (and) to the CWG. “I am in the best phase of my career. But I believe, in the next 3-4 months, I will have my career best ranking,” he added. Sharath is leading the Warriors TTC in the ongoing UTT league, which began in Pune last week, and credited it for the improvements in his game. “After last year’s UTT season, it gave us that impetus to do better. However, the platform has to be consistent and if it stays so then we will have more youngsters watching us, the foreign players and will get inspired to get better and make us a better Table Tennis nation,” the paddler from Tamil Nadu said. “Table Tennis is my identity, so I will stay connected to the sport but we will have to wait for some more time before I go onto the other side of things,” the 35-year-old paddler signed off. PTI NRB AHAHlast_img read more

Digging his own grave

first_imgPublic opinion the world over, especially in Malaysia, is steadily going against the hate preacher and rabid communalist Zakir Naik over his increasingly divisive speeches made recently on the Malaysian soil where he is sheltered. No wonder he is labelled as the most hated person around. He has come to be noticed for his irresponsible and most current acrimonious statement that Hindus in Malaysia enjoy hundred per cent more rights in Malaysia than the minority Muslims in India. Such a provocative statement has sparked off a trail of protests. First to angrily react on Zakir’s outburst was the National Patriots Association (NPA) comprising a group of Malaysian police and armed forces’ veterans. They are more than visible in trying to build up pressure on the Malaysian government to deport Naik who is wanted in India for money laundering and other criminal offences. Naik’s unsavoury remarks have also offended a large number of Hindus living in Malaysia who constitute nearly 60 per cent of the Malaysian population. Also Read – A special kind of bondMeanwhile, Malaysian Minister for Human Resources, Kulasekaran disclosed (August 14) that Naik’s belligerent comments could have been aimed at creating a fissure in the multiracial nation in favour of Muslims. The minister even said that the Cabinet is expected to meet shortly to decide if Zakir Naik really deserves the status of a Permanent Resident. Naik has been showering praise on the Malaysian government for what he described its Islamic and fair treatment to the Hindu minorities. However, Naik exceeded limits when he called upon the ethnic Chinese settled in Malaysia to leave the country as they had come to Malaysia much before Naik came. This has stirred a hornet’s nest as the Chinese community constitute a very large number and they have been contributing substantially to the nation’s progress. Taking his (Naik) hate agenda that far led to the country’s Home Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin issuing a stern warning that anyone, irrespective of his or her religion, trying to disturb peace or tranquil will be dealt with very strongly under the provisions of law principally on hate monger’s address at the Malaysia Reverts Camp in Perlis. Also Read – Insider threat managementIn the meantime, the Bukit Aman or the CID (D5 – the Prosecution and Legal division) questioned Naik on August 16 under section 504 of the Malaysian Penal Code for intentionally causing insult and hurting religious sentiments and abetting breach of peace. It is relevant to mention that there are at least 115 people who have petitioned the police against Naik and the angst is on the rise. More significantly, the Malaysian government has banned Zakir Naik from addressing an event originally scheduled for August 16-18. This comes in the wake of his relentless tirade against the Hindus attempting to arouse communal passions in an otherwise peaceful country. It is important to do brainstorming as to what are the invisible factors that are emboldening Naik to come out with such acerbic and disparaging statements? Similarly, who are the players supporting him to be so unabashed in hitting out and singling out the Hindus? By deduction, it could be safely assumed that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad is personally keen not to deport Naik to India as he is under an impression that Naik could possibly be fatally targeted if he returns to India. He also fears, rather mistakenly, in the event of Naik’s deportation, he may not get a fair trial. His mindset remains prejudiced despite the fact that in the very recent past, at least four cabinet ministers have urged Mahathir to deport Naik. Judging by a warm and increasing bonhomie between Pakistan’s Imran Khan and Mahathir, in this light, it merits a deeper delving if Pakistan has any subtle role in encouraging Zakir Naik’s ongoing designs against India. In another related development, the UK has banned beaming of Naik’s Peace TV for describing gay people worse than pigs and also for calling upon that those who embraced a new religion after abandoning Islam, should be killed. These extreme statements compelled the British authorities to take such stringent measures as they amounted to a serious breach of existing broadcasting laws. British media regulator OFCOM intervened, banning the notorious Peace TV. Notably, this channel already stands forbidden in India, Srilanka and Bangladesh. With Malaysia considering action against Zakir Naik for his blistering communal and sectarian comments, he is losing his credentials rapidly and with an intensified Indian diplomacy, as noticed in galvanising global support in declaring Masood Azhar as the designated terrorist, it should not be difficult on part of India to drum up support with the Hindu and liberal support groups to create a favourable public opinion. It will then pave the way to facilitate Zakir Naik’s early deportation. The time is now when his position is vulnerable for his most acidic rhetoric robbing him of any sympathies. (The author is a retired IPS officer, a security analyst and a former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Mauritius. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more