Gnanasekaran Sathiyan is confident that the Indian Table Tennis players will put up a good performance at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, later this year. India is still on the hunt for the first-ever Table Tennis medal at the Olympics since the discipline was introduced in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Four Indian paddlers – Achanta Sharath Kamal, Gnansekaran Sathiyan, Manika Batra, and Sutirtha Mukherjee qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic at the Asian qualifiers last week. While Indians were expecting a few to get through, the mixed-doubles pair of Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra making it through to the Games was a big achievement.
Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, currently the 38th ranked player in the world, is confident that the Indian paddlers will put up a good show at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. He feels that the mixed-doubles event that starts from the round-of-16 can be a potential golden duck for the Table Tennis contingent.
"220 countries play this sport. We have come a long way and I think it's still a very long way to go. Mixed doubles, definitely they have a big chance. There are only 16 pairs, you start off with Round of 16. They have a very realistic chance," said Gnansekaran Sathiyan, as reported by India Today.
But, he did not shy away from stating the fact that India can make it big even in the singles events too, with him defeating world no. 4 Tomakazu Harimoto of Japan in the 2019 Asian Championships. This will be Sathiyan’s first appearance at the mega-event.
"Even in the singles, we have a great chance. I beat (Tomakazu) Harimoto, the World No. 4 (at the Asian championships in 2019). He is a strong contender for an Olympic medal. When you beat the top 10 players, it gives a lot of confidence. We have done well in a lot of tournaments, we won the first medal in Asian Games. We are confident, we are going to put up a strong performance, aiming for a medal,” added the paddler.