Sreeja Akula “Sharath Kamal Bhaiya has been my biggest Motivator
In an exclusive interview with Sports Trumpet 24 year-old Sreeja Akula reflects on elusive win and her future plans.
Sreeja Akula, who recently claimed the Gold Medal in the Mixed-Doubles Table Tennis event at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, was felicitated by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence, The 24-year-old Sreeja,
Speaking about the grand event in New Delhi, Sreeja described it as a moment she would never forget. “It was an honour for me to meet with Hon’ble PM Modi and to hear his inspiring words. Being felicitated by him is one moment I will cherish forever. I am grateful for such a warm welcome and it gives me the motivation to continue the hard work,” she said.
Sreeja was among the 31 athletes making their Commonwealth Games debut who went on to win a medal for India. Speaking at the felicitation ceremony, the Prime Ministercited how medal wins by the women athletes will inspire girls to pick up sports as a career option.
“The daughters of India, have made us proud! The medals won by all women athletes will inspire girls across India to join mainstream sports,” Hon’ble PM Modi said.
- Hometown: Hyderabad
- Training Base: Somnath Ghosh UTT Academy
- Coach: Somnath Ghosh
- Background: Sreeja’s father was a Table Tennis player and it was he who introduced the sport to
- Sreeja and her sister. After watching her sister win medals, Sreeja was inspired to take up the sport.
- Her father had to quit his government job and move into the private sector in order to support her
- financially. Her mother used to accompany her to the national ranking tournaments and helped her
- study in between her matches. After initially training at St. Paul’s Table Tennis Academy with Mr.
- Ibrahim Khan and Mr. Nagender Reddy, she then moved to train under Mr. Somnath Ghosh, who
- continues to coach her today and helped her win her first Sr. National Championship 2021 (held in
- April 2022) in Women’s Singles. She also secured a gold medal in Women’s Doubles in the same
- ● Won Gold medals in Women’s Doubles and Women’s Team events at the 2019 South Asian
- ● Won three medals – 2 Bronze and 1 Silver – in Women’s Singles, Mixed Doubles and Women’s
- Doubles events at the 2019 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships
- ● Won Gold medal in Women’s Singles event at the 2021 National Championships (held in April
- ● Won Gold medal in Women’s Doubles event at the 2021 National Championships (held in
- April 2022)
- ● Semifinal appearances in the respective Women’s Doubles events at WTT Contender Muscat
- 2022 and WTT Feeder Fremont 2022
- Key Government Interventions:
- ● Funding for the Training camp in Portugal in preparation for the Commonwealth Games
- ● Financial Assistance towards various international competitions and domestic camps.
- Foreign/Support Staff:
- Coach – Somnath Ghosh
- Mental Trainer – Gayatri Varthak
- Days in National Coaching Camp (from Sep 2021 to date): 26 days
- Funding (Post Tokyo Olympics):
- Approx. 13,26,000/-
- ₹ 1,46,475/-
- ₹ 1,75,000/