Sreeja Akula is an Indian paddler who has represented the country in several national and international competitions. She came into limelight after winning the gold medal in table tennis at the 2022 Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham, United Kingdom in August 2022.
Sreeja Akula was born on Friday, 31 July 1998 (age 24 years; as of 2022) in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. Sreeja completed her 10th class from Rosary Convent High School, after which she joined Badruka Junior College and completed her schooling. After completing her schooling, Sreeja got admission in Badruka College of Arts and Commerce, where she pursued her higher education.
Height (Approx): 5′ 4″
Weight (Approx): 55 kg
Hair Color: Black
Eye colour: black
parents and siblings
His father’s name is Praveen Akula. His mother’s name is Sai Sudha. His elder sister Ravali Akula is a table tennis player.
Sreeja Akula is unmarried.
Sreeja Akula started her table tennis career when she was very young. In an interview, he claimed that he decided to pick up a racket after being inspired by watching his sister play table tennis. He said,
As a child, as a youth… I used to watch my elder sister participate in table tennis championships and win them. That’s when I decided to follow his footsteps and become a pro table tennis player.
Sreeja Akula participated in the 2013 Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships. There he won the silver medal. In 2018, Sreeja Akula defeated Tamil Nadu table tennis player Salendeepti by a margin of 4–2 and won the National Ranking Championship (Northern Zone), which was held in New Delhi.
In 2018, Sreeja Akula joined the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under sports quota. As an employee of RBI, he has represented the organization in many national level tournaments. Later in 2018, Sreeja Akula, along with Nikhat Bano, won the gold medal in the women’s doubles event at the 80th Senior National and Inter-State Table Tennis Championships in Cuttack, Orissa.
Sreeja Akula participated in the National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships in 2019. The championship was held in Thane, Mumbai. In 2020, at the National Ranking Table Tennis Championship (Northern Zone) in Sonipat, Sreeja Akula won the national title. Later in 2020, Sreeja Akula won the bronze medal at the UTT 82nd Cadet and Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships, organized by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).
In 2021, Sreeja Akula won the silver medal in the women’s doubles event at the World Table Tennis Championship. This tournament was held in Doha, Qatar. In April 2022, Sreeja Akula won the national title at the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championships by defeating paddler Mouma Das from West Bengal.
In the same year, Sreeja Akula won two gold medals at the Women’s National Table Tennis Championship. This program was organized for the first time in Telangana.
In 2022, Sreeja Akula made it to the Indian table tennis team and represented India at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. On 7 August 2022, in the bronze medal play-off, Sreeja Akula was defeated by Australian paddler Yangzi Liu in the women’s singles event. Sreeja lost by a margin of 3-4. On 8 August 2022, Sreeja Akula, along with Achanta Sharath Kamal, won the gold medal in the mixed doubles event at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The pair defeated Malaysia’s Javen Choong and Karen Lin by a 3-1 margin.
- Sreeja Akula claimed in an interview that Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal inspires her. He said,
He is a really 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 and give us tips, play strokes with us, constantly motivate and encourage us to perform better in table tennis. So, I have always taken inspiration from him.”
- In 2022, after winning the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championships, Sreeja Akula became the second paddler from Telangana to win a national title since 1964, after Mir Khasim Ali. While giving an interview, Sreeja said,
I am very happy. I still can’t believe that I won the national title. I did not expect to win. But I worked hard for it. I would like to dedicate this to my coach Somnath Ghosh and fitness coach Hirak Bagchi. I have been training with Somnath sir for more than ten years and have been waiting for this moment. All the competitions were tough. But I maintained focus. The semi-final match (Ahika Mukherjee) was the toughest match I have played.
- As of 2022, Sreeja Akula’s national table tennis ranking is 1, and her international ranking is 68.