Some Lesser Known Facts About Sreeja Akula
- Sreeja Akula is an Indian table tennis player. In August 2022, she made the headline after clinching a gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, held in Birmingham, the United Kingdom.
- According to Sreeja Akula, she was inspired to play table tennis by her elder sister. In an interview, she said,
As a child, a young one… I used to watch my elder sister participate in table tennis championships and win them. That is when I decided to follow her footsteps and become a pro table tennis player.”
- In 2013, Sreeja Akula participated in the Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships, where she bagged a silver medal.
- In 2018, Sreeja Akula participated in and won the National Ranking Championships (North Zone), in New Delhi. There, she won the Youth Title by defeating Saleendeepthi, a Tamil Nadu paddler, by a margin of 4-2.
- In the same year, Sreeja Akula joined the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through sports quota, and she has represented the organisation in several national-level competitions.
- In 2018, Sreeja Akula, along with Nikhat Banu, won a gold medal in the women’s doubles event at the 80th Senior National and Inter-State Table Tennis Championship. The competition was held in Cuttack, Orissa. After the victory, while giving an interview, Sreeja told,
It was tough because we had no scope to train together as Nikhat akka stays in Chennai and I am based in Hyderabad. And, we are partnering only for the second time ever in the Senior Nationals. Glad that we could pull it off in style.”
- In 2019, Sreeja Akula participated in the National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships at Thane.
- In 2020, Sreeja Akula took part in the National Ranking Table Tennis Championship (North Zone) which was held in Sonipat, Haryana. There, she emerged victorious.
- In 2020, Sreeja Akula participated in and won a bronze medal at the UTT 82nd Cadet & Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships. The championships were organised by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).
- In 2021, Sreeja Akula participated in and won a bronze medal in the women’s doubles event at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championship, held in Doha, Qatar.
- In April 2022, Sreeja Akula participated in and won the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championship. There, she defeated Mouma Das, a paddler from West Bengal. Sreeja became the second table tennis player from Telangana to win a national title after Mir Khasim Ali, who became the first national champion from the state in 1964. Telangana Today While giving an interview, she said,
I am very delighted. I still ca not believe I won the national title. I did not expect to win. But I did work hard for this. I want to dedicate this to my coaches Somnath Ghosh and fitness coach Hirak Bagchi. I have been training with Somnath sir for over ten years and waiting for this moment. All the matches were tough. But I maintained focus. The semifinal clash (Ayhika Mukherjee) was the toughest match I played.”
- In the same year, Sreeja Akula took part in the first-ever Women’s National Table Tennis Championship, where she clinched two gold medals. The competition took place in Telangana.
- At the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Sreeja Akula was defeated by the Australian paddler named Yangzi Liu by a close margin of 3-4. Sreeja was defeated in the women’s singles event.
- In August 2022, Sreeja Akula won a gold medal with Achanta Sharath Kamal in the mixed doubles event. The duo defeated their Malaysian rivals by a margin of 3-1.
- In an interview, Sreeja Akula said that she draws her inspiration from Achanta Sharath Kamal. She also said,
He really is a great player and his level is completely different from ours but he is also an amazing mentor. During our training sessions in Chennai, he would always come around and give us tips, play strokes with us, constantly motivate and encourage us to do better in table tennis. So, I have always drawn my inspiration from him.”