Sharath Kamal's extraordinary career is best summed up in numbers. Here are some that might explain why he is unique in Indian sport.
1: Sharath had just one day off at the 2022 CWG [August 3]. It's not just that he's played almost non-stop for the last 11 days. It's also how he has gone about it. Take Saturday, for example. He played three matches in a little over four hours and assured himself of two medals.
2: Sharath beat England's Liam Pitchford for the men's singles gold medal on Monday. 26 March 2006; 8th August 2022. Sharath Kamal was 23 on the first date, and 40 on the second. A Commonwealth Games singles champion on both dates.
4: Sharath has won four medals this CWG - the men's singles crown, mixed doubles crown, men's doubles silver, and men's team event gold. If Sharath was a nation at CWG 2022, he'd be ranked 16th out of 72 participating nations.
7: The number of Commonwealth Games gold medals Sharath has won overall. Again, if Sharath was a country, he'd be ranked 23rd on the list for most gold medals in CWG history.
13: Sharath has won 13 CWG medals since his debut in 2006. The Indian table tennis team at Birmingham, collectively, has a total of 17 medals [most of the medals were team events, of which Sharath was also a part.]
19: Sharath won a total of 19/21 matches this CWG. That's a win ratio of 90.4%.
21: The age difference between Sharath and 19-year-old Diya Chitale, the youngest member of the Indian CWG table tennis team. For the record, Sharath's career of 24 years is older [and showing no signs of slowing down] than Diya.
21: Sharath played a whopping 21 matches at the 2022 Games. Huh, that has a ring to it! He was part of the men's team, men's doubles, mixed doubles and men's singles draw.
40: How young Sharath is. The first gold came in 2006, the next one today. In the 17 years between those two dates, Sharath has become the golden standard for Indian table tennis. With ten national titles, a best world ranking of 30 and a clutch of medals on the global stage, Sharath had become the unofficial guardian of Indian tennis - in more ways than one.
At 40, you'd imagine that he'd be in the twilight phase of his career. He's been telling his family for years that he'd hang up his boots soon. Yeah, that doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon. CWG 2026 next, Sharath?