Sreeja Akula is an Indian paddler who has represented the country in many national and international competitions. She came to the limelight in August 2022, after she bagged a gold medal in table tennis at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which were held in Birmingham, the United Kingdom.
Sreeja Akula was born on Friday, 31 July 1998 (age 24 years; as of 2022) in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. Sreeja completed her 10th standard from Rosary Convent High School, after which she enrolled at the Badruka Junior College and completed her schooling. After completing her schooling, Sreeja was enrolled in the Badruka College of Arts & Commerce, where she pursued her higher education.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Weight (approx.): 55 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name is Pravin Akula. Her mother’s name is Sai Sudha. Her 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, she claimed that she decided to pick up a racquet after getting motivated by watching her sister play table tennis. 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.”
Sreeja Akula took part in the 2013 Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships. There, she clinched a silver medal. In 2018, Sreeja Akula defeated Saleendeepthi, a table tennis player from Tamil Nadu, by a margin of 4-2, and won the National Ranking Championships (North Zone), which was held in New Delhi.
Sreeja Akula after winning at the National Ranking Championships (North Zone)
In 2018, Sreeja Akula joined the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the sports quota. As an employee of the RBI, she has represented the organisation in several national-level tournaments. Later in 2018, Sreeja Akula, along with Nikhat Banu, bagged a gold medal in the women’s double event at 80th Senior National and Inter-State Table Tennis Championship, in Cuttack, Orissa.
Sreeja Akula with her women’s doubles partner, holding her gold medal
Sreeja Akula, in 2019, took part National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships. The championship was held in Thane, Mumbai. In 2020, at the National Ranking Table Tennis Championship (North Zone) in Sonipat, Sreeja Akula won the national title. Later in 2020, Sreeja Akula bagged a bronze medal at the UTT 82nd Cadet & Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships, which was organised by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).
Sreeja Akula, with her coach, after standing second at the UTT 82nd Cadet & Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships
In 2021, Sreeja Akula won a silver medal in the women’s doubles event at the World Table Tennis Championship. The tournament was held in Doha, Qatar. In April 2022, Sreeja Akula defeated West Bengal’s paddler named Mouma Das to bag the national title at the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championship.
Sreeja Akula after winning the 83rd Senior Table Tennis Championship
In the same year, Sreeja Akula won two gold medals at the Women’s National Table Tennis Championship. The events, for the first time, were organised in Telangana.
Sreeja Akula after bagging two gold medals at the Women’s National Championship
In 2022, Sreeja Akula secured a place in the Indian table tennis squad and represented India at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. On 7 August 2022, in the bronze medal play-offs, Sreeja Akula was defeated in the women’s singles event by the Australian paddler named Yangzi Liu. Sreeja lost by a margin of 3-4. On 8 August 2022, Sreeja Akula, along with Achanta Sharath Kamal, bagged a gold medal in the mixed doubles event at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The duo defeated the Malaysian pair of Javen Choong and Karen Lyne by a margin of 3-1.
Sreeja Akula with Sharath Kamal after winning a gold medal in the mixed doubles event at the 2022 CWG
- Sreeja Akula, in an interview, claimed that the Indian paddler, Achanta Sharath Kamal, inspires her. She 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.”
- In 2022, after winning the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championship, Sreeja Akula became the second paddler from Telangana after Mir Khasim Ali to have won a national title since 1964. While giving an interview, Sreeja 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.”
- As of 2022, Sreeja Akula’s national table tennis ranking is 1, and her international ranking is 68.