Sarath clinging on to hope, and faster recovery
A few years ago, the news of S Sarath Kumar racing in the 125cc class of the motorcycle World Championship was emphatic news.
While the 125cc entry with WTR-Ten10 Racing did not work out, Sarath entered the Italian Championship with Mahindra Racing. Though it was tough for the Chennai rider, there was hope and promise since an Indian had made it to the top level.
Cut to the present. Sarath is struggling mentally. He sustained an injury during dirt track training in Bangalore (in 2016) and recovery is becoming a problem.
“The injury on my knee is one of the key reasons I am not able to do well,” he told Motorsport.com. “It is getting better but it is not 100 per cent.”
Sarath competed in the SuperSports 600cc class in the Asia Road Racing Championship this year. And things could have gone better. Taking part in a championship that has riders who have ridden in MotoGP and Moto2 is not easy.
“I had a knee surgery and a half years ago, but I still cannot jog. I am unable to do any running,” he said. “After my injury, I have been doing cycling and upper body work. For the 600cc, the lower body more important than the upper.
“For lower body work, I have to use my legs but I get a lot of pain. This is holding me back,” he added.
“The doctors say it is getting better. But it is happening very slowly and my career is getting affected. In hindsight, I don’t know if the surgery was required at all because my teammate had a similar injury and he recovered in six months,” he felt.
“I underwent the surgery because I wanted to recover quickly and have a strong knee.”
All of 25 now, Sarath is losing time. That is causing more stress. “Sometimes, I am angry with myself. I cannot go on giving the injury as an excuse. The doctors say it is getting better. That might be okay for a normal person. But for an athlete, there is no time,” he said.
“I am mentally disturbed by this. The doctors do not seem to understand what I am going through. I am thinking of going to another country for recovery.
“It is very difficult for me to accept it,” he stated.
“When I participated in the World Championship, all of us learnt something because everything was new. We learnt what to do and what not to do in terms of fitness etc..
“Unfortunately, we could not continue. But then there was appreciation for what we were trying to do. Marc Marquez’s manager appreciated it and even said they were prepared to help with sponsorship if I continued to do well.”
Sarath admits there not much he could have done because it was a training accident. “I cannot blame anyone because anything can happen during training. But recovery is the problem now. It’s becoming a problem for me, my manager, sponsor etc. because we all have to give answers to someone else,” he expained.
Despite the problems, Sarath is hopeful and wants to continue racing. “We have plans for next year but it all depends on my physical condition. If my condition was good, I would have continued the 600cc,” he said.
“But I feel I can do well on smaller bikes. Nothing is confirmed and we are still in talks.”
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