Indian Table Tennis star Gnanasekaran reveals how Dravid helped him win the Commonwealth Gold

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Incorporated Rahul Dravid’s ways in my game as well, says Sathiyan Gnanasekaran

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SportsCafe Desk

02/04/2019

TT player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran has shared a story of how Rahul Dravid’s pep talk had helped him become a Gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games. Currently ranked 28 worldwide, the talented 26-year-old Indian paddler has targeted to enter Top 20 ahead of the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

The Chennai-based player won the Belgium Open Title in 2016 and since his first pro title, he had been thoroughly hard-working. Although he competed the TT juniors in 2011, he was not able to go abroad due to his studies and he said that it was a difficult time where he had to strike a balance between playing the sport and pursuing engineering. Rahul Dravid Athlete Mentorship Programme was a blessing for him as the legendary player’s presence and pep talk helped him soar ahead in life. 

“I think it is really nice to look at the game like he does. I have learned a lot from the way he played cricket and incorporated that in my game as well,” Sathiyan added.

“I was asking myself if I should have a career in sports and academics. Then I got an offer from ONGC, and support from GoSports and the Tamil Nadu Government, then came in Raman sir. All these things came together to help me.”

Sathiyan credited his coach Subramaniam Raman for pushing the limits to his success and for believing in his ability. Raman had put in hard work, technical support and took care of all the small details - things that helped Sathiyan reach this level.   

“He keeps pushing the limits. Whenever I get close to a target, he pushes it higher. Like when I reached top 100, he said top 70.”

When enquired about the stint with the Tischtennis Bundesliga, the German TT League, he said that it had helped him play more aggressively and in handling pressure situations better. He also believes that if the players strike form, stay fit and qualify in the top 16, there is a good chance for India to grab a medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“The best is yet to come, the way we are playing. It’s going to get better and better. We have been performing well in very event. We are much more positive and geared up,” he concluded.

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